Plot: After she reconnects with her old friends at a high school reunion, Jessica (Stacey Oristano) promises to stay in touch and thanks to social media, that is easier than ever before. As a year passes, the friends remain close and talk on a regular basis, which makes Jessica quite pleased. Karen (Stephanie Honore) has been posting upbeat, positive updates for a while, but when her social media takes some odd turns, Jessica becomes concerned about her friend. When she tries to contact Karen in a more direct fashion, she is told by Karen’s husband Paul (Griff Furst) that she has taken a vacation to Hawaii, as the couple works through some issues. She is beyond suspicious, but given little proof to work with, she has to back off, until Karen’s social media starts to update with some very out of character posts. Is Karen just soaking up the sun or is she is in some kind of trouble and can Jessica uncover the truth?
Entertainment Value: This Lifetime thriller is a fun watch and while it has the usual genre elements at work, the social media emphasis adds a fresh twist and the role it plays in the narrative is effective. Some stories push social media or other hot button issues into the mix just to drop buzzwords, but Status: Unknown takes a more realistic, grounded approach with social media. Jessica’s concerns grow over erratic social media posts and most of the audience can likely relate to that, as most have likely questioned a friend’s online actions or comments. But while it is a prominent thread in the narrative, the social media angle takes a backseat when it needs to, allowing the melodrama and typical thriller elements to take hold. In that arena, Status: Unknown also holds its own and weaves an interesting, if well worn narrative that allows for drama, mean girl moments, and the kind of personal dysfunction that makes these Lifetime thrillers so much fun to watch. A proper villain makes a big difference and the movie delivers on that front, while the movie finds a balanced tone that injects a good amount of over the top melodrama, but doesn’t go too wild. So it strikes a nice mix and as such, I’d recommend this to anyone who appreciates Lifetime style thrillers.
The cast here is fine and most of the performances are in line with Lifetime’s standard thriller efforts, but a few performers stand out. Brea Grant steals the show, in a fun and dialed up turn that elevates the entire movie. This kind of role can make or break these Lifetime movies, so Grant’s performance is crucial and she is able to do the role asks for and then some. I appreciated her ability to channel high level drama at times, but reel things back in when called for, as that kind of balance is what makes the difference in this kind of character. I just wish she had more screen time, as she is so much fun to watch in action here. Stacey Oristano is also quite good, especially since the Lifetime thriller leads are often shown as naive or unlikable, whereas Oristano is relatable and quite likable. Her performance is strong and she has the central role, so she carries the bulk of the narrative and does so with skill. The cast also includes Stephanie Honore, Stephen Colletti, Griff Furst, and Hilty Bowen.
The Disc: Status: Unknown was released on DVD via Mill Creek Entertainment, as part of a 4 in 1 Thrillers Collection, which houses this film and three other Lifetime style thrillers in one pack. The movie has been given a solid visual treatment, one that is clean and sharp throughout. I found detail to be good, colors bright, and contrast consistent, so no real issues to report here. The set puts two movies on each disc, which means there’s no compression woes present. So if you like Lifetime thrillers, this pack offers a great value with four thrillers for one low price.