Plot: Whitney (Kaitlyn Bernard) is the most popular girl in school, but she isn’t content with just being at the top of the social food chain. She has always wanted one thing above all else, to be crowned Homecoming Queen and whatever it takes, she plans to claim that tiara. In addition to her popularity, her reign as queen is almost a tradition, as her mother was given the title and her grandmother before that, so she has a legacy to uphold. She has prepared for this moment her entire life and unknown to anyone else, she went to great lengths to edge out potential competition. One of her rivals was found dead in the woods, assumed to be an accident, but in truth, Whitney was responsible for the young woman’s demise. Now her runway to the crown seems clear, at least until a new rival emerges, as fiesty Natasha (Kayleigh Shikanai) has entered the race to fight back against the school’s mean girls. How will Whitney handle this new challenge and will Natasha survive long enough to even attend the dance, let alone find out the results of the vote?
Entertainment Value: These Lifetime thrillers have unleashed stalkers, killers, and obsessed fans, but few villains in this genre are as ruthless as high school girls. The mean girls vibes are strong with Homekilling Queen and the movie hits all the usual Lifetime beats, just dialed up a little more than normal. I mean, we don’t just have a sadistic teen girl as our villain, but we have a multi-generational matriarchy on the hunt for anyone who gets in her path to the crown. The villain is great, the story is familiar, but fun to watch unfold, and there’s some nice twists mixed in, all soaked in teen melodrama and dysfunction, which is always a good time. The drama runs hot here, but the movie still delivers a solid narrative and weaves in some side threads that work well, so there is more here than cattiness and melodrama. I do appreciate all the melodrama and dysfunction however, as it lets the cast have some fun and of course, wild, over the top villains are fun in this genre. The pace is good and doesn’t lag much, thanks in part to those side threads I mentioned, such as Natasha’s past, which proves to add depth and some interesting moments. In the end, this proves to be a brisk, fun thriller that Lifetime fans should appreciate.
I have said this countless times by now, but these Lifetime thrillers often live and die by the villains, who tend to carry the movies. In the case of Homekilling Queen, we do indeed have a fun villain, but our good girl is also more than capable, given much more depth than most similar characters in the genre. Natasha has a past and the movie doesn’t shy away from her flaws, even taking us inside the process of how she turned things around, as well as how her past choices color her current situation. That her past still haunts her adds a touch of realism, but also some optimism, since she has worked to better herself and owns her mistakes. Kayleigh Shikanai has charm and charisma to burn, so she plays our good girl with high energy and helps make her into much more than the usual victim. She is given more to work with than usual and she makes the most of it, with a terrific performance. Kaitlyn Bernard is also immense fun to watch here, as she embraces the melodrama and goes for it as our villain, giving us a mean girl for the Lifetime ages. The cast also includes Ashley Jones, James Gallanders, Jennifer Dale, and Krista Bridges.