Story: Trudee (Juliana Destefano) loves to visit garage sales, but not just for the chance to locate a rare, valuable item, as she has more in mind than hunting bargains. She and her brother scope out these yard sales and while one distracts the home owner, the other steals the cash box and the two wind up with a little haul for their troubles. But when their routine goes haywire and her brother is killed after being caught inside someone’s home, Trudee isn’t content to let the garage sale proprietor Marcia (Arye Campos) off the hook. The death was an accident when Marcia defended herself on a staircase, but Trudee doesn’t think that matters in the least. Now she tries to infiltrate Marcia’s life and unleash chaos, but can she take down Marcia before the local homeowner’s association does?
Entertainment Value: This is an absolute masterpiece of a Lifetime thriller, easily one of the most outlandish concepts they’ve produced, yet it is all played straight and never fails to entertain in that special Lifetime fashion. The narrative is ridiculous, one outrageous turn after another, but it works if you can appreciate the movie’s b movie sincerity, as these wild, inexplicable events unfold and are treated like believable story beats. At first, I thought maybe the garage sale gimmick would be dropped early on, but the movie commits to the premise and never looks back, dialing up all the wackiness you could want and never flinching whatsoever. Of course, if you want a traditional narrative with depth that is rooted in realism or logic, Deadly Garage Sale isn’t like to to win you over. But to me, this was pure b movie bliss, as if someone collected all the crazy quirks these Lifetime thrillers lean on and took them to the next level, while keeping a straight face. At the same time, there is also some good character work here and above all else, the movie is just a total blast to watch. I know these Lifetime thrillers get a bad rap sometimes, but Deadly Garage Sale is like a wild horror movie blended with a wine mom drama, with spectacular b movie results. Highly recommended.
I know, I’ve said it a million times, a great villain can ramp up even a middle of the road thriller into a fun, over the top ride. But in the case of Deadly Garage Sale, Lifetime was able to lure me in with the protagonist for a change. Arye Campos as Marcia is one of Lifetime’s best, most believable good girls, partly because the material lets her embrace herself. I appreciated how the movie doesn’t judge Marcia when she makes a mistake or takes a risk, even going to the point of having her explain her process and how she doesn’t feel shame for her actions. That’s a big deal in a Lifetime thriller, where the good girls are often portrayed as clueless, naive, or interchangeable. I know some will laugh when I say this is a superbly written character, but I really feel like this is one of Lifetime’s crown jewel characters. Julina Destefano makes a more than capable villain however, with some serious mind games and bold actions to get what she wants. The two have good chemistry as well, so their shared scenes work well and I think they are terrific leads for this material. The cast also includes Matthew Pohlkamp, Shaun Duke, Jr., Autumn Noel, and Pascale Roger-McKeever.