Plot: Julia (Tara Erickson) is a widowed mother trying to move forward with her life, while providing the best possible experience for her children. Her career is doing well and thriving in fact, though the increased success also translates into longer hours and less time at home. In order to keep her kids’ home lives stable and let her continue to thrive at work, Julia decides to hire a nanny. Olivia (Annika Foster) is who steps into that role and she bonds with the family right off the bat, though Julia has no idea who the woman she let into her house really is. As it turns out, while Olivia is great with children and supportive of Julia, she is not the same nanny that was hired, instead she killed and replaced that woman. Now Olivia plots to gaslight both the kids and Julia, while slowly poisoning Julia as well, to make her tired and worn down. Can Julia put the pieces together in time to save her family, or will Olivia’s diabolical plan work and allow her to replace Julia as the matriarch?
Entertainment Value: Once again Lifetime has given us a wild psycho and a movie that delivers exactly what the title promises, as this thriller is indeed centered on a nanny that is quite twisted. The narrative here is fairly standard Lifetime tropes, but with an ace villain and some dialed up melodrama, The Twisted Nanny is easily a few notches above most of its peers. Of course, there’s not much in terms of new ground or fresh twists, but the usual Lifetime formula is popular for a reason, so I doubt the intended audience will mind. And to me, The Twisted Nanny polishes that formula up quite well and delivers a tuned up, well crafted version of the recipe, one that focuses on the elements I appreciate. The melodrama runs hot, gaslight tactics are common, and the emphasis is on over the top thriller conventions, which ensures a fast paced, dripping with toxic drama experience. As such, this one isn’t a grounded, logic driven story and you’ll have to overlook bad decisions, obvious plot holes, and such, but that is the nature of these wild melodramas. The movie compensates with fun, wild moments and has that special b movie appeal from how over the top it can, so anyone who appreciates campy cinema might find value here. I found The Twisted Nanny to be a fun watch and easily give it a solid recommendation.
I know I have talked about this a million times, but it remains the truth, a fun, over the top villain is a surefire way to elevate these melodramatic thrillers. The Twisted Nanny packs a potent psycho that’s brought to life by Annika Foster, who shines in the role and seems to have fun visiting the dark side. Foster runs with the character and blends a sweet, lovable facade of a persona into her off the rails psycho, which provides a steady flow of entertainment. This is made all the more fun to watch because of how dialed up her performance is, as the red flags are evident from second one, but watching people ignore the warnings adds to the b movie thrills. She is restrained at times because of the social seduction techniques of the character, but she lets the crazy run wild other times, so it balances out. Tara Erickson is also fun here, as the oblivious, frazzled good girl being tormented by our sadistic psychopath. I know some will complain her character is weak because of how naive and oblivious she can be, but again, this is a staple of the genre and not a concern in this case. The cast also includes Katy Foley, Andy Gates, and Catherine Grady.