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Lifetime Review: 'Deadly Hollywood Obsession'

A schoolteacher is dragged into a world of fame, obsession, and murder in this well-cast thriller with a nice twist.

By Trevor WellsPublished 4 years ago 4 min read

Much to the envy of her best friend, schoolteacher Casey Wright (Sarah Roemer) has a connection to famous movie star Sam Austin (Jon Prescott) through her new job teaching at the school of his young son Jack (Brady Bond). Casey finds her and Sam's lives dramatically connected, however, after she saves Jack from an attempted kidnapping at the school. With the culprit being suspected of being Sam's unstable stalker and the killer of his recently murdered wife, Sam tells Casey that he's planning to take Jack out of school and wants her to become his son's full-time homeschooling teacher.

Things change when Casey finds herself as the stalker's latest target, as she moves into Sam's home and finds herself nurturing a growing attraction to the handsome and compassionate movie star. But as Casey finds herself in a budding relationship with Sam, his stalker Lynette (Hannah Barefoot) proves that nothing will stop her from having Sam for herself--and that she's more than willing to kill Casey to make it so.

Deadly Hollywood Obsession could almost be described as what you'd get if you grafted together a Hallmark script and a Lifetime script. For Hallmark, you have the "Everywoman Catches the Eye of a Big-Name Celebrity" plot arc, and for Lifetime, you have the "Obsession Thriller" elements that have become almost synonymous with the channel. The best example of the film's attempt at bringing the two channel's tones into one is the two instances in which Casey has erotic fantasies about Sam, though these moments end up sticking out like sore thumbs in a film that otherwise sticks mainly to the brand of the channel it's airing on.

But on the whole, Deadly Hollywood Obsession proves to be a Lifetime movie with a few tricks up its sleeve. To start off with the casting, Sarah Roemer proves almost perfect as Casey Wright. From her attractive-but-not-overly-glamorous appearance to the warm sincerity of her overall demeanor, Roemer is more than believable as a kind and compassionate everywoman unexpectedly pulled into the chaotic media spotlight and the crosshairs of a dangerous stalker. While this comes at the expense of Casey occasionally coming off as a pushover, the film allows her a few moments to show that she's not entirely unassertive, with this side of her being shown in full force by the finale. This, in addition to the sweet chemistry Roemer and Brady Bond form in their characters' student-teacher/mother figure relationship, makes Casey an all-around likable protagonist you'll root for from beginning to end.

Jon Prescott (no stranger to Lifetime) stars opposite Roemer as Sam Austin. In addition to having more than enough charm to be believable as a famous movie star, Prescott plays well off of Roemer as Casey and Sam forge a bond over the situation they find themselves in and brings equal parts adorable and sad to moments that focus on his status as a recently widowed father trying to do right by his son. The final major player in this drama is Hannah Barefoot, who proves to be a surprise highlight of the bunch, despite the fact that Lynette spends a great deal of her screentime silent. In those moments, Barefoot proves quite skillful at face acting, from the pure-nightmare-fuel expression that accompanies her introduction to the deranged looks that cross her face whenever Lynette stalks Sam and Casey.

WARNING: Spoilers Below

Barefoot's performance is greatly enhanced by the film's strong writing, which allows Deadly Hollywood Obsession to emerge as more than just another Lifetime movie about a psychotic stalker. Throughout the film, even as Lynette proves herself a legitimate threat to both Sam and Casey, interactions amongst Sam, his associate Mark (played by Adrian Gaeta), and detective Bruner (played by James MacPherson) slowly hint that there's more to Lynette's obsession than meets the eye. With the details being revealed little by little, I found myself wondering what exactly this secret could be. While the truth is ultimately a standard reveal, it allows a tragic side to emerge from Lynette's character and allows you to look back and realize all the little hints to Sam's true nature that the film drops.

Spoilers Over

On his own, Brady Bond is sweet in a non-cutesy way as Jack, and Tia Hendricks makes for a charming Heroine's BFF/Audience Surrogate character as Casey's friend TJ. On the downside of things, Deadly Hollywood Obsession suffers from Casey's aforementioned pushover status briefly shifting into irritating status during the final act and SPOILER ALERT Sam's otherwise strong and chilling villainous reveal in the final act suffers from the plot hole it creates: if Jack had secretly recorded his father convincing Lynette to kill his mother, why wouldn't he say something about it? Spoilers Over Outside of these issues, Deadly Hollywood Obsession proves to be a well-acted and well-written Lifetime thriller that takes a heavily-worn plot template and reworks it into something different. As the final Lifetime film of 2019, Deadly Hollywood Obsession proves to be a strong movie to end the year on for the channel.

Score: 8 out of 10 action figure movies.


About the Creator

Trevor Wells

Aspiring writer and film lover: Lifetime, Hallmark, indie, and anything else that strikes my interest. He/him.

Link to Facebook

Twitter: @TrevorWells98

Instagram: @trevorwells_16

Email: [email protected]

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