Plot: Eric (Mike Duff) has a good life, complete with a beautiful wife Kay (Brittany Falardeau), a young daughter Laura (Megan Ashley Brown), and a great job, the kind of life most would kill to have. But all is not as idyllic as it seems, as his work requires long hours and while he is starting to earn some real cash, it comes at the cost of time with his wife and child. Kay struggles to feel wanted and appreciated, almost feeling abandoned at times by Eric’s frequent absence. Meanwhile, Eric’s estranged brother David (Zack Gold) shows up out of the blue and while Eric is hesitant, Kay invites him to spend some time at their house. This leads to some positive changes, as David is pleasant to have around, he helps out with little odd jobs, and spends time with Kay and Laura, which they desperately needed. But when he starts to display some erratic behavior, David’s past is revealed by Eric and some warning signs are clear. Has David put his demons behind him and moved onto a more stable, positive lifestyle or has he just been putting on an act this whole time?
Entertainment Value: Also known as Blood Brothers, Psycho Brother In-Law is a Lifetime thriller steeped in dysfunction and melodrama, a brisk and over the top ride that genre fans should appreciate. The narrative is fine, one we’ve seen in various forms numerous times in these Lifetime thrillers, but it is a formula that works, so no real complaints. Of course, the story relies on the characters being rather oblivious most of the time, but again, that’s more or less expected. If common sense or caution were used, then there wouldn’t be much of a movie, plus the bad decisions help ratchet up the drama and b movie appeal. The tone is also on the overly dramatic side, so the cast’s performances embrace the melodrama and that helps the plot concerns be much less important. I feel like for the most part, you know what you’re in for these Lifetime dialed up thrillers, so no worries. The pace here can be a little slow in places, but there’s often some kind of drama or dysfunction present and once the second half kicks off, the pace lights up. So if you’re fan of the more manic Lifetime thrillers, Psycho Brother In-Law is a fun, over the top watch.
The villain is often the standout in Lifetime thrillers and this proves to be no exception, as Mike Duff has the most memorable performance. He’s able to bring the unstable vibe of David to life quite well, sending up red flags all over the place and once he makes the shift, tuning up his performance to match. Duff has the nice, misunderstood guy on full showcase, which helps us get past some of the awful decisions by other characters, who want to see the best in him. But to me, his effort really shines as the psycho is let loose and Duff goes over the top. The scene where he loses it and shatters the mirror, only to retreat back into his nice guy is quite a sight to behold. While Duff steals the show, I was impressed by Brittany Falardeau as well, as she plays the neglected wife well and brings more to the table than most Lifetime protagonists. The cast also includes Zack Gold, Megan Ashley Brown, and Lannett Tachel.