Deadly Encounter (2004 Lifetime)
Synopsis (via Lifetime)
Starring Katelyn Tarver, Nicki Aycox, and Tamara Duarte. After the apparent suicide of a nerdy, Restaurant hostess and mom, Joanne Sanders, has to work late one night. After she leaves the restaurant, she accidentally cuts a car off on the highway. This driver takes it personally, and he begins to stalk and harass Joanne.
Joanne is hard up for cash and wears chunky belts. She is a recently divorced mom to a thirteen-year-old boy named Eric. He wants to be left home alone, but Joanne is overprotective. She works night at a night club, not as a stripper but as a night restaurant manager. She is flirty with the bartender, Tony. (He is cute, I get it.)
Late at night on her way home from work, she is almost run off the road by an erratic driver. Joanne gets out of her car to check on the other driver. The driver turns off his headlights when she gets out of the car and then turns them on to almost run her over. Frazzled, she continues on her way home and is followed by the driver. He drives on her tail and bumps her car. Then the driver pulls up next to her and tries to run her off the road again. Joanne gets away by slamming on the breaks and swerving off the nearest exit. It is an intense and well-directed sequence.
When she is home, Joanne starts getting phone calls with heavy breathing on her LANDLINE. (No cellphones in this 2004 movie. She takes the phone off the hook and sleeps restlessly through the night. The strange phone calls continue the next day. She goes to lunch with her mother, Shirley, and feels like someone is following her.
Joanne talks to the police, who do not take her seriously. They say she has no evidence. Well, that comes quickly when she receives a phone can again, and Joanne screams at him. Then she receives flowers with a card that reads “R.I.P.”
Back at work, a handsome man named Rick flirts with Joanne. The hunky bartender is sick and leaves Joanne to close up the restaurant by herself. As she is going, she notices that she has a flat tire, and heads back into the bar to call her ex-husband Keith for a ride. He checks out the tire and is surprised to see that the tire isn’t flat anymore. They have come coffee, and she informs him of her stalker. (Oh god, if they get back together, I am going to be so mad.) Then she comes home and finds her house trashed from a break-in.
NOW the police show up, and a detective asks her some questions but rules it out as a drug-related breakin. It is so annoying that the detective is gaslighting her. He reluctantly offers a police officer to patrol her house for the next few days.
Vulnerable and pathetic, Joanne calls Keith and tells thanks for helping her. Even though he didn’t follow her home to make sure she got home safe. Expect more from your man, Joanne. The stalker comes back and tampers with Joanne’s car again. Actually, it isn’t her car; it is her mother’s car. The vehicle explodes, and she is unconscious in the hospital. Detectives still rule it out as a string of bad luck, because they are the worst.
Joanne has sexual fantasies about Keith and purchases some lingerie. As she enjoys some tea, Joanne feels like she is being watched and rushed home. On her bed is a wrapped present. It is bloody lingerie and a knife. She decides to take Eric out of town for safety since no one will help her. She tell Eric about the reason they left town and the detectives move them into a sketchy motel. (The front door is a sliding glass door!) Then she leaves Eric there while she goes to work the nightshift. Can’t she get the night off? I mean, her mother was almost murdered and is receiving threatening messages.
The stalker calls Joanne’s stupid friend who tells him where she is staying. She is a terrible friend and I will never forgive her.
As the club, Joanne gets a call from the stalker. He tells her that she will never get away from him and complements what she is wearing. When she asks why he is stalking her, he simply says, “Because I can.” Joanne thinks it is the cute guy at the bar and call the detective. She is wrong of course, because the real stalker is in the motel with Eric posing as the pizza man.
Meanwhile, Keith is hooking up with a woman when Joanne stops by in her trench coat. She tells him that she wants to be with him.. ummm hello, your son is ALONE IN A MOTEL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. She doesn’t even notice anything is wrong when she comes one and Eric isn’t in the room. She is too sad about Keith. Once she realizes that only one slice of pizza is missing, THEN she knows something is wrong. The stalker calls and taunts her.
The stalker makes her follow him in her car and promises her son will be safe is she plays by his rules. They drive through the night and end up in a rock quarry or something. He demands she get out of the car and show her Eric tied up. Then he shoots a gun and screams that he is in charge. Joanne apologizes for cutting him off and begs him to give her back her son. The stalker shoots her anyway. Joanne plays dead and kicks him in the stomach. Then she grabs the gun and shoots him. He gets back up, gets in her car, and tries to run her over. The POS car won’t start .
When it does, Joanne shoots at it, like twenty times, and it explodes. (Eyeroll.)
This movie wants soooo bad to be a Hitchcockian thriller, down to the Dolly Zoom technique. It’s is just Lifetime, don’t take it so seriously!.
Minority Report: Car buyer, Police officer,
🔪🔪 (2 Knives)
🍷🍷🍷 (3 glasses of wine required.)
*Photo Credit: © 2004 Lifetime