Bad Tutor (2018 Lifetime)

Bad Tutor

Stars: Vanessa Marcil, Charles Hittinger & Alex Frnka

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

Single-mom Karen is focused on getting daughter Emily graduated and off to college. But when she hires Devin to boost Emily’s grades, the tutor becomes obsessed: Emily is the spitting image of the girl he left behind—at the bottom of a cliff!


A young couple is on a romantic mountain overlooking the ocean. Devin proposes to his girlfriend, but she is not really into and breaks up with him. He just wants to be with her and she holds him while he cries—until he pushes her off a cliff and kills her.

Flash forward: we meet a mother (Kelly) and her daughter (Emily) at a cafe. They have a ridiculously casual relationship, almost like sisters! When Kelly finds out that Emily is failing her classes, she hires a tutor for Tuesday morning. A customer at the cafe, Devin, mistakes Emily for his cliff girlfriend and starts to eavesdrop on their conversation. He writes down the time and name of the tutor in the notes app on his phone. Then he follows them to their house and checks their mail to find out their names. Devin then goes home and looks Emily up on social media and falls creepily in love with her.

While at work (in a medical lab?), Devin continues his research, and finds the address of the tutor, Ms. Ayers. He then steals a vial of something and goes over to the tutors house. He breaks in, dumps the vial into her coffee cup—and runs off. Ms. Ayers surprisingly doesn’t die, but is REAL out of it. She shows up for her tutoring session and hits a garbage can while trying to park and is just spacey AF. Kelly tells Ms. Ayers that she is fired.

Devin, continuing this elaborate charade, makes a fake tutor website. He then makes an emergency appointment with Kelly (she is a dentist). He cracks his tooth opening a beer bottle to make it legit. At the appointment, he casually mentions that he is a tutor in SCIENCE, the subject with which Emily is struggling. Kelly hires him and asks for his references, which he supplies.

When Devin is finally at his tutoring session, he keeps seeing his old girlfriend in the place of Emily. Before he starts the session, Devin asks to use the bathroom. Kelly directs him upstairs to the master bath???? (WHY!) He, of course, goes into Emily’s room and looks around. Finally, they get to tutoring where Devin gives emily advice like: “Coefficients being like a killer guitar solo,” and then he proceeds to play the air guitar. Tutoring doesn’t last long (because it is a lifetime move, and that would be boring). Emily’s bandmate, Steve shows up for practice ending the tutoring, much to Devin’s disappointment. Devin mentions to Kelly that she should cut all of Emily’s extracurricular activities so she can focus on studying. Kelly and Emily fight and send the guys away for the night.

Emily will not miss practice for her band (the have a big showcase coming up.) and fakes sick to get out of tutoring. When Kelly calls Devin to cancel her acts like he is cool with it and then goes into a rage when he hangs up the phone. Conveniently for Emily, her mom (who is a widow BTW) is going out for a date—!giving Emily ample opportunity to sneak out. Unfortunately for Emily, Devin is waiting outside of the house, and follows her to her band’s rehearsal and lets the air out of her car’s tires.

Kelly comes back from her date and catches Emily in her lie. She tells Emily that she just wants her to be honest and if she isn’t going to work with her than she is on her own. Her grades are her responsibility. This tactic works and Emily agrees to keep up with tutoring AND band practice.

With Emily taking responsibility for her own actions, Kelly is free to do less parenting and go on more dates. Emily goes on a date of her own, with her bandmate, Steve. They make plans for the band. Devin follows them and, again, mixes something into Emily’s drink causing her to pass out. Devin tells the waitress that he saw Steve put something in Emily’s drink and then plants evidence in Steve’s car to set him up for the crime. The police arrest Steve and even read him his Miranda rights!

After a brief stint in the hospital, Emily and Kelly learn that the drug in her system was a date rape drug. They are shocked that Steve would do something like that. Emily is upset but smiling while she is saying that her band is ruined and she is going to have to study for her midterm. At the next tutoring session (I think only our second of the movie). Devin tells Emily that he has a music agent friend and he would be happy to send a demo for her. Emily doesn’t have a demo, so she invites him up to her bedroom to record. (Gurl, don’t be dumb! She is home alone with Devin by the way.)  She proceeds to sing the stupidest song I’ve ever heard, lyrics include:

“Warm wind and fireflies

Kisses under starry skies

Was it just a dream

I remember everything (x2)”

Later, at home Devin listens to this song on repeat. Poor him!

Devin tells Emily that his “agent friend” loved the demo but he wants her to look more all-American. She agrees to let him take her shopping and to a real recording studio to do some more demos.

Meanwhile, Steve is blocked from contacting Emily and is placed on the sex-offender list. He is set on getting to the bottom of who really drugged Emily. He goes back to the restaurant and talks to the waitress who tells him that a guy told her. She describes Devin to Steve and he is starting to put the pieces together. He follows Devin to the mall where he is changing Emily into his old girlfriend. Steve then confronts Devin and tells him that he is onto what he is up to.

Finally, Devin’s boss realizes what is going on with all these missing vials at work. He catches Devin red-handed. The boss fires Devin, who says he was thinking about quitting anyway, haha okay.

Jobless and determined to take care of Steve, Devin attacks him in his garage. While Steve is knocked unconscious, Devin turns on the car and closes the garage door—killing Steve from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Reeling from the apparent, Emily goes to the fancy recording studio with Devin to record her demo. Which goes REALLY well because she is channeling all her emotions into her music. (The lyrics still suck tho.) To celebrate Devin and Emily go out to dinner where they are discovered by Kelly’s online boyfriend. He snaps a pic of them and sends it to Kelly so she knows what is going on with her daughter.

Kelly confronts Devin as soon as he drops of Emily. She tells him to stay off her property and then yells at Emily for lying again. Devin is not one to let anyone stand between him and his love. He again, goes for the hard creepy sell, like he did at the top of the movie. This time it works and Emily agrees to run off to LA with him for her big shot in the music business. Kelly, discovers that her daughter is missing and, after contacting Devin’s former boss, realizes he is a pyscho. She then breaks into Devin’s house and finds all his drugs and old girlfriend killing newspaper stories. After finding the park where he is hiking with Emily, she goes to save her daughter.

Emily, now in LA, agrees to go hiking in a replica outfit that Devin’s old girlfriend wore. (He bought it for her as a gift, even though she is not into hiking.) On the trail, Emily is struggling, and isn’t into the view from the top. Emily takes her hair down and Devin freaks out, he tells at her to keep up so it can be exactly the same. He proposes to her and Emily is shocked and tells him that she is too young to get married. Devin tells her that she can’t do this to him again and starts yelling at her and grabs her and kisses her neck, like a weirdo.

Kelly and her online boyfriend make it to the trail and try to stop Devin. The online boyfriend gets hit in the head with a rock by Devin and Emily gets knocked over the cliff. She hangs off the edge and tells Devin she loves him, so he will pull her back up. While Kelly distracts Devin with a heartfelt speech, (that isn’t very well written or delivered, sorry Vanessa Marcil. I love you but no.) Emily hits Devin with a large log. He falls over the cliff to be with old girlfriend. (Although his body isn’t at the bottom of the cliff.)

On a college campus far far away. A young girl who looks like Emily is Devin’s next target. He renamed himself Anthony and pretends to be a student. Dun, Dun, Dun!

Side Note

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Overall rating

🔪🔪 (2 Knives)

🍷🍷🍷🍷 (4 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2018 Lifetime

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