Plot: Camille (Krista Allen) has found a real groove in life, as her career is booming, her daughter Violet (Zoe Lillian) is thriving in school, and her boyfriend Rafael (Jeremy John Wells) is all she could want in a partner. She even discovers he plans to propose, when she accidentally found the ring in his jacket. He has to cancel their dinner reservation however, as work issues have come up, though Camille intends to surprise him with a quick visit before he leaves. This proves to be a traumatic decision, as when she shows up and looks around for him at his house, Camille discovers signs that Rafael isn’t the man he thought. He has a room filled with pictures of dead women and trophies from his kills, as well as proof his intentions for her weren’t just romantic. She is able to escape thanks to a call from Violet, who recognized the safe word the two had created, leading her to call the police. The two testify against him and Rafael is locked up for life, but of course, things take an unexpected turn…
Entertainment Value: The title of this one is a little unwieldy, but I Almost Married a Serial Killer proves to be a solid Lifetime thriller, taking a more serious, intense approach than most of the network’s movies. I miss all the wild melodrama and dysfunction, but I like that Lifetime steps off the beaten path from time to time, as a breather from the usual formula can be welcome. The tone might be serious, but the narrative makes some odd choices and to me, that is why the movie proves to be so interesting. The whole face swap routine is hilarious, especially since it is presented as such a flawless, undetectable process. I think it adds some b movie vibes and I love that, though the outlandish elements might throw some viewers off, given how serious the rest of the movie is. So there is still some drama and dysfunction, just not the massive doses found in most Lifetime movies. The pace here is good, with no real slow stretches and while the content isn’t as wild or over the top as some of its peers, it is never dull or drawn out. I’d think this one will interest Lifetime fans, as it might take a new angle, but it still has most of the usual elements in place.
The more serious tone does result in less dialed up, melodrama driven performances, which is a double edged sword. The more sincere turns do suit the material, but Lifetime is known for wild melodrama, so those elements are missed at times. I think the most memorable effort in I Almost Married a Serial Killer belongs to Louis Mandylor, who is given the most ridiculous character to work with. He is able to tune up the creepiness to Lifetime levels and add some melodrama, though his role is a supporting one and it takes a while for him to arrive in the narrative. I think he adds a lot to the movie though, as he fills a more traditional Lifetime role and spices up the second half or so, which helps the flow a lot here. Krista Allen has the lead and as always, she is a capable anchor, even if this is one of her less memorable turns for Lifetime. I still think she does well, I just don’t think the character gives her a lot of chances to shine, so she handles the needs involved, but not much else. The cast also includes Jeremy John Wells, Brooklyn Brailsford, Zoe Lillian, and Avra Friedman.
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