Plot: Tom (Brett Zimmerman) had a troubled childhood, but he has been diligent with therapy and managed to move forward with his life. Now as an adult, he has a family of his own and a successful career, so he feels like he has been able to leave his past behind him at last. His wife Melissa (Kelly Sullivan) is a devoted partner and mother, as well as an aspiring artist who designs her own jewelry line. But this idyllic life is interrupted when Tom’s estranged mother Yvonne (Nana Visitor) shows up one night. She has spent years in a mental institution in the wake of her daughter’s death, the same tragic event that traumatized Tom. While Tom doesn’t trust that his mother is well, Melissa tries to be a peacemaker and implores him to give her a chance, to prove that she has been healed by years of treatment. But has she overcome her inner demons or is Yvonne just as unhinged as ever?
Entertainment Value: If you’ve ever wondered what Michael Myers might be like as a murderous grandmother, you’re in luck, as Killer Grandma gives us the geriatric slasher you’ve waited to see. This is a Lifetime movie, so of course there’s minimal blood and such, but Yvonne could easily be a slasher villain, as she stalks, kills, and basks in her lethal conquests. The narrative is in line with other Lifetime “psycho returns from the past” yarns, but rest assured, Yvonne is not the usual stalker, she is a killing machine that belongs in an 80s horror movie. This ensures her antics are far more outlandish than most of the obsessed crazies in this genre, as she pulls off some wild moments that are a total blast to watch. Of course, if you want a more grounded thriller, you’ll likely be taken back by over the top Killer Grandma can be, especially since Yvonne is almost a superhero level psychopath. But for those who appreciate the zanier side of Lifetime thrillers, this is a fast paced, wildly fun melodrama. Sure, Lifetime veterans have seen the basic premise time and again, but with a proper villain involved, this narrative can be revisited often. If you like the more manic Lifetime thrillers or just want to see an old woman unleash hell, don’t miss Killer Grandma.
If you make a movie titled Killer Grandma, you better give us one hell of a, well…killer grandma and thankfully, that happens here. Nana Vistor (is there a more perfect name for an actress playing a murderous grandmother) brings Yvonne to life in spectacular fashion and is an instant Lifetime villain hall of fame candidate, thanks to a wild and melodrama laced performance. As I said above, she is given a character that feels like she belongs in an 80s horror movie, as she has amplified, mysterious strength and comes off as nearly unstoppable at times. I love that approach, especially given to a grandma character, but of course, not everyone will appreciate the grandmother as killing machine element. She embodies the predator instinct and is a lot of fun to watch, as she takes immense pleasure in her kills. Nana Visitor delivers the goods here and then some, an all time Lifetime villain classic. The rest of the cast is fine, but Visitor has such a command on the screen, it is hard not to think of her performance when you think about Killer Grandma. The cast also includes Brett Zimmerman, Kelly Sullivan, Lexi Atkins, and Jessica Blackmore.