Death of a Vegas Showgirl (2016 Lifetime)
Cast: Roselyn Sanchez, Danso Gordon, Fiona Vroom
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Synopsis (via Lifetime)
In a story of sex, lies, and betrayal, two incredibly talented dancers, Jason “Blu” Griffith and showgirl Debbie Flores become involved in a tumultuous relationship that spirals into obsession and spins horribly out of control. On the eve of achieving her dream, a starring role on the Vegas stage, she vanishes without a trace. The investigation into her disappearance reveals the twisted depth of this love story gone wrong that ends in a sordid death that shocked Las Vegas and the world with its gruesome and tragic details. Stars Roselyn Sanchez and Danso Gordon (2016)
The movie begins with a highly produced dance sequence, and I’m into it. Debbie is a Vegas showgirl who rushes to rehearsals and lives at the theatre. A lot of choreography happens; the choreographer, Kevin (played by Lifetime hunk Jason Cermak), is a straight-up dork. He wears a vest and necklace; maybe it is Vegas fashion? He gives Debbie an audition for a leading dance part. (She gets the part
Debbie gets distracted by a handsome dancer named Blu and goes on a coffee date with him. Roxy, Debbie’s roommate, warns her friend that Blu is trouble, and she should stay away, mostly because Debbie has been in an abusive relationship in the past, and Roxy has heard rumors. Blu doesn’t let up and sends Debbie flowers and dances with her in da club. Then they have a very intense sex scene.
Blu and Debbie are a full-on item, much to Debbie’s friends disapproval. Jon and Roxy think that Blu is a player. Blu pressures Debbie to be a dancer in his music video, and even though she believes it is cheap and degrading, she does it for him. Blu is asserting his control over Debbie.
Debbie begins spending less time with her friends and more time with Blu. She even misses Roxy’s birthday party. They try to tell Debbie that she needs to end things with him. When Debbie suspects Blu of cheating on her with another dancer, he begs her to stay and tells her that she belongs to him. He also grabs her wrist in a possessive way.
The relationship starts to affect Debbies dancing negatively. Kevin threatens to take away her lead dancer position, and Roxy begs Debbie to stop letting Blu control her. Debbie storms off angrily and finds Blu with another woman in their bed. She starts slashing his tires, and he gets violent with her. He beats her in the front yard and is taken away by the police. Roxy asks Debbie to get some therapy and stop talking to Blu. Debbie doesn’t follow her friend’s advice.
Debbie goes out of town and visits her sister in Atlanta, and it helps Debbie recenter herself. She focuses on her dancing and seems to be pulling it together. Debbie and Roxy repair their friendship, and they have a nice lunch together. It is the last time she will see Debbie alive.
On the opening night of Debbie’s featured show, someone murders her. When Debbie doesn’t show up for her big show, everyone knows that something is wrong. Debbie’s sister Celeste comes to town and raises hell at the police station. A detective (TV movie vet, Aaron Pearl) interviews Kevin and Blu. Blu’s friend Mike eventually goes to the police and admits that he helped hide Debbie’s body.
Then Blu is questioned by the police. Through flashback, we see that Blu and Debbie argued and got into a physical altercation. Blu strangled his girlfriend and hid the body. The men dismembered her body and encased Debbie’s body in concrete. It is disturbing and a real-life story.
The movie ends with the actress who plays Debbie dancing. Intercut with her loved one’s mourning her death. Think of a modern dance interpretation of a funeral. The intentions are there for it to be a tribute to the real-life woman. I’m curious if the real Debbie Flores-Narvaez’s family was involved in any way in this production.
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Minority Report: Debbie, Blu, Jon, Celeste, Elise, Police officer, Lawyer
Read about the true story here. (It is dark.)
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*Photo Credit: © 2016 Lifetime