Story: Barbara (Wendie Malick) wants to be a grandmother more than anything else in life and while it has been years since her son lost his child, she has had a lot of trouble moving on and remains stuck in a one track mindset. When her son Ethan (Josh Ventura) gets into a new relationship and his girlfriend Kendall (Amanda Righetti) happens to have two kids, Barbara senses this could be her last chance. After all, Ethan isn’t getting younger and neither is she, so she decides to drop in on the couple and become the grandma she has dreamed about. She instantly falls in love with Kendall’s children and begins to spoil them like most grandmothers would, but when Kendall’s ex and the kids’ father starts to cause some potential problems, Barbara takes action. After all, she has waited a long time for this, but how far will she go to be the perfect grandmother?
Entertainment Value: This is pure b movie bliss, an over the top, enthusiastic thriller that throws logic to the wind and focuses on wild entertainment. So yes, Barbara makes little effort to conceal her crimes and the red flags rain like a hurricane, but such is the nature of these wacky Lifetime thrillers and this one more than delivers on the fun. I know the formulaic approach Lifetime takes rubs some folks the wrong way, but if huge movie franchises like Marvel and Star Wars can run like assembly lines, why should Lifetime be viewed via a different lens? Deranged Granny is the result of that formula being fine tuned and polished, giving us all the drama, dysfunction, and over the top moments, with the Lifetime cinematic DNA all over the entire production. The pace moves at a brisk clip, with our granny always on the attack and because of the b movie, camp driven elements, even the more mundane or expositional scenes are fun to watch here. This concept isn’t a new one, as Lifetime has several psycho grandma movies, but this one really nails the premise and embraces the wackiness. I had an absolute blast with Deranged Granny and give it a high recommendation.
I appreciated the general tone and camp value of this one, but the driving force behind Deranged Granny is Wendie Malick, who gets the material and runs with it. She commands the screen here, in a dark, but hilarious performance that is so much fun to watch, as she calmly unfolds her maniacal plan and leaves a wake of wrecked lives behind her. I love the scenes between Malick and Dave Baez as Kendall’s ex, as she is so laid back and friendly, but also always plotting how to harm him, which of course he is totally oblivious to. Malick shines here and while the role doesn’t stand as her best work, it is a fun turn that embodies the vibe of these wild Lifetime thrillers. Her reactions are so good, as is her ability to make even routine exchanges with her costars fun to watch. I hope we see Malick back, either in a sequel or as a new psycho in the Lifetime universe. The cast also includes Josh Ventura, Amanda Righetti, Isabel Gameros, and Finnegan Garay, who wants to go to a pizza tonight.