#GirlInTheBasement, #BrutalBridesmaids, and more – TV Reviews

Table of Reviews

Girl in the Basement – Review

Girl in the Basement – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Sarah counts down the days to her 18th birthday.  She wants to leave her parents’ home and see each state with her boyfriend, Chris.  Her mother, Irene, supports Sarah’s dream but never in front of Sarah’s father, Don.  Don has keys to every lock in his home and locks Sarah in her room at night.  After Sarah sneaks out of the house to spend time at a party with Chris, Don is furious.  He goes to his mancave to think and remembers the old bomb shelter that the last owner left.  Irene doesn’t go to the basement because Don told her there are rats.  Irene leaves to go to the store, and Don asks Sarah to help him move a large plastic container.  They walk downstairs, and Sarah sets it down.  But Don tells her that’s not the spot.  He slides the bookshelf and reveals a door.  They take the container down a hall to another door.  Behind that door are a sink and a shower.  Then Don hastily walks away and closes the door.  Sarah bangs on the door for her father to let her out, attempts to enter the code, and tries to find ways out of the room.  But nothing works.  Three days later, Don comes down, and Sarah tries to escape.  He beats her and gives Sarah his rules.  If she enters the wrong code, the power will cut off, and without power, the air cuts off too.  If she wants any luxuries of the outside world, she will have to earn them.  When she stands up for herself, Don rapes her.  Don tells Sarah never to call him dad again.  This day is Sarah’s 4th day in a 20-plus year ordeal.  

Inspired by real events, this movie will horrify you as Sarah lives, eats, and raises children in this room.  Like many abduction stories, Sarah tried to escape, but her father thwarted each attempt.  Now there are differences between the movie and real life.  First, the victim had seven children, and 3 of them lived upstairs.  Next, the victim lived in the basement for 24 years, not 20.  The film establishes Don’s need for control at the beginning of the movie.  He must approve every move his wife and daughters make.  He has a lock to all the doors, and he belittles all of them.  And just when you think Don can get more evil, he does two things to Sarah that leaves him beyond redemption.  First, he turns her children against her by saying she is the reason they can’t leave the basement.  Second, when Don got in fired, he tries to kill them to save himself.  This movie’s tale is horrific, but the film itself is well done.  Lifetimers, be warned, this plot could trigger victims of trauma. If you need help, contact RAINN.  

I give it 5 out of 5 stars

She’s a problem – Don

Go see the world. Be brave. Just don’t be reckless – Irene

You can’t do this to me – Sarah

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Brutal Bridesmaids – Review

Brutal Bridesmaids – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Michael takes Jessica to the bridge where they had their first kiss, gets down on one knee, and asks for her hand in marriage.  With excitement, she says yes and then knocks the ring out of his hand and into the river below.  Before she can jump in and save it, Michael stops her.  That ring was just a placeholder until they went shopping for her wedding band.  Michael promises to get a new rings before the wedding.  Since Michael will get a promotion in a few months and move to California, he wants to get married as soon as possible.  Jessica calls her bridesmaids to start fast tracking to the wedding.  Melanie is Jessica’s roommate and maid of honor.  Melanie works as a photographer and offers to take wedding pictures as her gift.  She never told Jessica she had a crush on Michael.  Kristin, who introduced Jessica to Michael, is Jessica’s friend and coworker.  They were going to start a private design firm together, but Jessica has to back out because of the move.  Holly is Jessica’s cousin and only married bridesmaid.  Sarah had four kids in 7 years and feels lonely.  To find purpose, she got a job selling nutrition shakes from her home, but she warns Jessica that getting married may be a mistake.  Sloan and Jessica have known each other for years, but Sloan has been unhappy since her wedding day because her fiancé left her for one of her bridesmaids.  Now, she doesn’t believe a bride can trust bridesmaids or a fiancé.  Jessica calls her college friend, Bianca, Binky.  Everyone but Jessica think Binky is a self-centered lush after a few stints on reality shows.  Binky is happy for Jessica, but Binky doesn’t feel valued as her friend.  As Jessica tries to enjoy the festivities leading up to the wedding, someone tries to sabotage her day.  Can Jessica unmask the culprit before someone dies?

If you watch the preview, it’s easy to believe you have it all figured out, but you are incorrect.  The preview is a red herring.  The brutal bridesmaid is there, and she gave her motive.  So, pay attention.  This movie offers a lot of wise misdirects by having people leave the room before something unexplainable happens.  And each backstory provides a hint of jealousy from each woman.  And the cherry on top, all the bridesmaids despise each other.  They quickly point fingers at each other when Jessica’s wedding starts to fall apart.  This movie is an intriguing watch that will need your undivided attention to pick up the clues.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

I do like shiny things – Jessica

I am a horrible liar, aren’t I – Melanie

That’s I what I am going to do, improvised – Kristin

It certainly wasn’t boring when you threw up all over me on the party bus – Holly

Anybody can betray you and stab you in the back.  Even your own bridesmaid – Sloan

I don’t know if you would know a good time if it bit you on the … – Binky

This experience is not about them – Michael

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Chronicle Mysteries: Helped to Death – Review

Chronicle Mysteries: Helped to Death – HMM – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Between her job and her podcast, Abby is a busy woman.  So busy that she forgets the new temp hire, Zach, has an interview.  Zach comes into the offices with all his systems set on go.  He has ideas for Eileen’s column, the newspaper, and Abby’s podcast.  The team is impressed by his ambition, and Abby thinks Zach should start today.  But Zach interjects because he believed the job starts Monday, and he has a non-refundable retreat scheduled.  Abby understands and tells him she is happy with him starting on Monday.  He hands Abby a flyer for the retreat and leaves the office.  Monday morning, Zach doesn’t arrive, and Abby worries, but Drew tells her not to give it too much thought.  Zach called and left a message stating he would come back in another week.  He decided to extend his time there, and it was entirely his decision.  Abby thinks the call sounded suspicious, so she grabs the retreat flyer and looks up the owner, Billy Garrett.  A few years ago, someone died at one of Billy’s retreats after being forced to hike and having a heart attack.  The courts charged Billy with negligent homicide, and he served three years in prison.  Abby’s concern for Zach grows, so she calls the retreat and books a stay under the guise of doing it for her podcast.  She knows Billy will want good press for his new retreat.  She arrives to find Zach happy and healthy but worried that she came to fire him.  She assures Zach that he has a job, and she conducts a few podcast interviews.  The next day, Drew surprises her and plans a stay for the retreat too.  However, he doesn’t mention he is the editor of the Harrington newspaper.  So they pretend to be old friends.  They meet with several of the guests and get their opinion of Billy and the retreat.  Ivy, Garrett’s wife, works as an art instructor and credits Billy for saving her life after they met when she was 19.  Bret is the CFO of operations and helped Ivy reformulate the Blue Moth Fungus supplements.  Marianne and Jack Carpenter attended Billy’s other retreats, and they say Billy saved their business and Jack’s life.  Daniel Brant is Zach’s cabin mate, and he has animosity towards Billy.  During a hike, everyone takes a break, but some hikers notice Daniel is missing from the group.  Billy wonders to look from him when they hear a crackle and crash.  Then Billy screams.  Daniel is at the bottom of the edge of a cliff and died on impact.  Now, Abby will do something she has never done before, solve a case that isn’t cold.

This movie is a new twist for this podcasting sleuth.  There are zero cold cases to solve because Billy did time for the past homicide.  Abby has to work with fresh clues, a new murder, and suspects within close proximity.  To make things more challenging, Billy took away all their technology, so they have no contact with the outside world.  But Abby and Drew have two ringers: a loving staff and a satellite phone.  With a murder board that doubles as a vision board, Abby will stop at nothing to solve the crime.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

I think the last thing that kid needs is more motivation – Drew

How are those two not a thing yet – Eileen

He’s 22.  Only 10 more than 12 – Alex

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The Dating List – Review

The Dating List – UPtv – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Abby interviews with the senior editor for Belle and Howe Publishing, Susan, but Susan takes one look at Abby and says no.  Abby was two minutes late for her interview, and that is 100% unacceptable.  When Abby convinces Susan to look at her references, Susan can’t find a recommendation from a senior editor.  Abby can’t get the job without one.  Abby goes home to her roommate, Janine, and explains her disappointment for not getting her dream job as a junior editor.  Then, Abby’s phone rings. It’s Dan, and he has her resume after they gave a confusing simultaneous order to cafe cashiers.  She takes a look at her portfolio and sees it’s Greg’s manuscript.  As an avid reader and editor, she can’t help but sit with the book and do her job.  Dan and Abby meet early in the morning, and, much to Dan’s relief, to book are fine.  It has a few red correction marks, but it is in one piece.  Dan admits that his friend and author, Greg, lost the copies and backups of the book.  The book Abby has in her hands is the only one left.  Abby can’t bear the thought of the lost book, so she runs to the print shop with Dan and gets backups upon backups.  Dan is forever grateful and takes her to breakfast.  During breakfast, the receptionist, Beatrice, calls Abby.  She got the job, and she should have come to work 15 minutes ago.  Abby assumes it’s for the junior editor, but she is mistaken.  Susan explains her assistant is on a two-week vacation for her honeymoon, and she needs Abby to hold down the fort until the receptionist comes back.  But hearing her receptionist got married gave Susan ideas.  She wants to find her future husband now.  She prints off binders of men that liked her online profile and her list of preferences.  She wants Abby to look through the list and find a suitable match.  This assistance will help Susan focus on Dexter.  Dexter is an author who is two years behind on his book’s deadline.  She has never met Dexter in person and only spoke to him through his agent, Brandon.  She needs to put pressure on him or take back Dexter’s advance.  Susan promises to let Abby edit and introduce new authors during her two-week tenure if Abby finds a match for her.  Abby agrees, and she has one author in mind, Greg.  At the cafe, Greg wants more advice on his book and a connection.  Greg knows Dan has publishing connections because he is a famous author.  He is Dexter.  But Dan swore Greg to secrecy, and Greg will never tell.  But Dan remembers Abby, and he calls her to help Greg.  As Abby works with Greg, she widdles Susan’s choices to 6 men.  So, Susan introduces Abby to phase 2: meeting the men in real life.  As Abby meets these men and spends time with Dan, she uncovers that Dan meets all Susan’s criteria.  With hesitation, Abby introduces Susan to Dan.  Abby is hesitant because she is falling for Dan too.  So what will come first for Abby, her job or love?

Whew, that was a lot to write.  With so many active characters, this movie can be a bit cumbersome to follow.  But it’s fun to watch.  It will require your full attention to keep up with the multiple storylines and character secrets.  Before they know, each has one-degree of separation from another character.  And their connection is held by a secret from a third party.  While there are several storylines, each character has a full backstory and motivation.  There are no filler characters.  Also, the plot gives each person a satisfying conclusion.  

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

If loving books is wrong, I don’t wanna be right – Abby

It was my dream to be an astronaut when I was a kid.  Life is full of disappointments – Susan

Just so you know, love hates plans – Janine

Don’t thank me. Thank ham Swiss on rye – Dan

What’s with all the red ink – Greg

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Mixed Up in the Mediterranean – Review

Mixed Up in the Mediterranean – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Chef Josh works in an Alaskan diner.  When no one is looking, he makes Baked Alaska in a town where the boss wants him to serve pie.  Josh calls his brother-in-law, Henry, to check on his identical twin brother, Julian.  Henry gives Josh a quick overview of his husband’s restaurant while Julian talks to Meg and her father, Mr. Westcock.  Julian overlooks Meg until he realizes she is the organizer for the 87th annual International Escoffier Competition.  Julian will be a contestant for the culinary competition, so Julian is kind to Meg until Julian discovers she is not a judge.  Meg wants to use the competition to prove that she can start an empire without her father’s help, but he doesn’t understand why she won’t work for him.  Julian goes back to the kitchen, and Henry gives Julian the phone.  He invites Josh to the competition as his plus one.  He hopes it will inspire Josh to move out of Alaska and do more with his talents.  Josh gave up a scholarship to culinary school to stay at home.  Now, Josh wants to spread his wings and takes the vacation.  At the Hotel Phoenicia, Josh, Julian, and Henry meet in Henry and Julian’s hotel room.  They plan to register for the competition and meet the judges, but Julian disapproves of Josh’s clothes.  Julian tries to grab his luggage to find something more appropriate and throws out his back.  Julian can barely walk, let alone cook.  And if he doesn’t register today, he can’t compete.  Julian asks Josh to sign-up for him.  Being identical twins, they have switched in the past.  Josh agrees and heads down to the registration booth.  Before he can register, Josh runs into Meg.  She believes he is Julian with a slight change in attitude.  She walks him over to the registration booth, does a quick run-through of the contract, and puts a wristband on him.  Josh signs the contract and inquires about the band.  It tracks the chefs in real-time, and he can’t remove it until the end of the competition.  If he does, the judges will disqualify him.  Josh runs to Julian and Henry’s room and loudly declares that they have a problem.  With the wrist band, Josh has to compete as Julian.  So, Julian and Henry prep Josh for the 3-part competition.

  1. Ten chefs have to cook bouillabaisse with fish and vegetables of their choosing.  
  2. Five chefs can create anything, but they must use the competition’s black diamond truffles, which cost $900 per pound.
  3. Three chefs will prepare the classic peach melba (scroll down for the recipe) with the same ingredients used by the dessert’s creator, Escoffier.

Julian needs Josh to win so Julian can save his restaurant.  But Henry can see that Josh is falling in love with Meg, and if she learns the truth, they will lose everything.  Can Josh get the girl and the competition?

Kudos to Hallmark for making another believable twin movie with good lighting and body double placement, the scenes meshed together well and didn’t impede the story.  With any twin swap movie, there are plenty of laughable moments.  Meanwhile, Josh’s mindless and repetitive act will save the twins and bring you a big sigh of relief.  Watch this movie with food nearby.  

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

It’s because I want to build my own empire – Meg

Why do you pretend you’re French – Josh

Oui, Bonjour, Merci. Stick to the basics – Julian

There’s 2 of you – Chester

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