Lifetime Review: 'Killer Vacation'
Alexa Havins finds her vacation turning into the getaway from Hell in this formulaic snoozer of a drama.
WARNING: Spoilers in review
Lindsey Harris' (Alexa Havins) relationship is unconventional, to say the least. Not only is her boyfriend Jake Johnson (Jacob Young) her superior, but he's also still in the process of separating from his wife Gwen (Avery Clyde)—who also happens to be the daughter of the firm's boss. And on top of everything else, Lindsey learns that she is pregnant with Jake's child, and Jake's reaction is less than what Lindsey hopes for.
Wanting to reconcile with Lindsey and convince him he's ready to dedicate himself to their future together, Jake convinces Lindsey to join him for a getaway in New Mexico. While the luxurious desert resort is beautiful and momentarily allows Lindsey to forget her troubles regarding Jake, they soon come back to rear their ugly head when Lindsey finds herself being followed by a strange man—and Gwen shortly after arrives, leaving Lindsey fearful over what her lover's soon-to-be ex-wife has planned. But as things grow more and more dire, Lindsey finds herself entangled in a web of deception that threatens to end her life—and the life of her unborn child.
To summarize Killer Vacation in one word: Bleck. It ranks among films like Ex-Wife Killer (the subject of one of my first ever Vocal movie reviews that I will never be over in regards to how badly it bombed) as one of the worst films Lifetime has ever offered to its' screens. While not everything about this blandly titled "thriller" is outright terrible, it's hardly enough to justify slogging through two hours of poorly paced melodrama that could be solved easily if our protagonist didn't have the willpower and intelligence of a wet sponge.
The unlikability of Lindsey Harris, however, is no fault of her portrayer; Alexa Havins does her best to sell Lindsey as a morally conflicted and low-key lonely woman put in a difficult position by her less than forthcoming lover. But as the situation becomes more dire and the source of danger becomes clearer (at least to the audience), any sympathy Havins was trying to generate for Lindsey is dashed when she continuously goes back to Jake, who by this point has consistently lied to her and left her alone to fend for herself against an apparent threat on her life. While Lindsey gets some good moments throughout of chewing Jake out for his actions, it's too late to salvage her horrifically mangled character.
On the flip side, Jake is portrayed Jacob Young, who unfortunately overplays Jake's darker side far too strongly and early on for the film's liking. Since the film wants to treat Jake's true intentions for Lindsey early on, Young's ham-fisted portrayal of Jake shoots Killer Vacation in the foot. Had the film established early on that he was the true guilty party, this approach to the character might've been effective; without that, it destroys an already predictable twist and further makes Lindsey seem like an idiot for not seeing through Jake's false charm.
On the other hand, the strongest member of the cast comes in the form of Avery Clyde's performance as the mysterious, scorned, and ultimately sympathetic Gwen. As opposed to Young's approach to playing Jake, Clyde manages to keep Gwen's intentions elusive and hidden well known to where the audience will be entertained in wondering what her endgame truly is and how far she's willing to go to get what she wants. Clyde also transforms Gwen into an effective (albeit presumably unintentional) parallel for Lindsey, showing that she is well aware of Jake's devious nature and won't let him get in the way of her getting him out of her life without wrecking her own in the process. Clyde's performance is so strong that it made me wish she had been the protagonist of Killer Vacation rather than the bland and overly naive Lindsey.
With stale and poorly conceived performances and a well-worn plot that adds little originality to itself, Killer Vacation is the kind of Lifetime movie that people point to as to why they don't like Lifetime movies. While the cast clearly put their best effort into this film, it's ultimately not enough to keep most interested for very long. This is sadly one vacation I would advise not taking.
Score: 3 out of 10 yoga instructor rescuers.