A Friend to Die For (or) Death of a Cheerleader (1994 Lifetime)

A Friend to Die For (or) Death of a Cheerleader

Stars: Kellie Martin, Tori Spelling, and Valerie Harper

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

When popular and beautiful cheerleader Stacey is stabbed to death, who could have done it? It could have been the asocial Goth girl, Monica, it could’ve been angst-ridden Jill—or maybe it was the plain girl nobody suspected.


We are in a very affluent suburb. Stacey (Tori Spelling) shows up at a random strangers house to get away from he weird friend who is creeping her out. The man agrees to take Stacey home and is followed by the weird friend in a car. He drops Stacey off and she is stabbed in her neighbors driveway and later dies in the hospital.

Flashback 10 months earlier to a high school pep rally. We get the normal high school tropes, the popular girls, the jocks, a goth girl, and Kellie Martin with her friend in a Blossom hat. As they are chanting, “Be the best,” Angie decides that she is going to be yearbook editor, a cheerleader, and a Lark. She has an in with her popular friends, when she gets a job at the admin office with STACEY LOCKWOOD!

Stacey is pretty much terrible (and not just because Tori Spelling is a bad actress): she is a bully and has a personal vendetta against, Monica (the goth girl played by an unrecognizable Kathryn Morris). She also has other popular blonde friends and one brunette friend (Libby from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.) The principal, Mr Saxe (Terry O’Quinn) also calls her “the prettiest office assistant,” which is not cool, I mean Angela is standing right there!

Angela has a normal life with her family (that is all underscored with that after school special music). Her dad fixes cars, her mom is Valerie Harper, and her sister who must be clinically depressed. They go to church together and Valerie Harper agrees to let her daughter go on a ski trip with the popular girls. There is only one problem, skiing cost money so we get a montage (CLASSIC STYLE) of Angela doing odd jobs to raise money to go on the trip—including babysitting, car washing, and painting. She scrounges together enough money to get an ugly ski outfit that will certainly embarrass her.

At the cabin, the girls gossip and read Monica’s diary. Angela tries to stop Stacey from reading the diary, putting her on Stacey’s list. Monica discovers them reading the diary and threatens to kill her. (My question: WHY did she even go on this ski trip???) Jamie tells her to lay low for a while and she will nominate her for the Larks (Weich is like a sorority for high school?). Stacey, her popular friends, and Angela are both inducted by putting mayonnaise in their hair and then driving around in a convertible and hitting on old men?

Later at cheerleader tryouts, Angela is working through a routine and she isn’t getting it. The coach has Stacey do it to show her, and Tori Spelling literally does it worse. (But it is supposed to be better.)

Things do not go according to Angela’s plan. Not only does she not make the cheerleading squad, but she also doesn’t get on yearbook. Clinging to the one thing she has, Angela decides to MAKE Stacey to be her friend. She hatches a scheme to steal her mom’s car and take Stacey to a party at Roger Huntley’s house. Stacey is weirded out, the car is dirty and even has a knife and veggies in the back seat from Angel’s sister. (That won’t come back later…) Stacey lights up a joint—“It’s just a little grass”—and then decides that she doesn’t want to go to some random party that she wasn’t invited to.

Angela seeing her BFF slipping away goes a little too far and tells Stacey that she “just wants to be her friend!” and that “she is pretty and confident.” As she follows Stacey home, Angela thinks of all the terrible things Stacey will stay about her. (Basically, call her a LESBIAN!) She grabs the knife walks up to Stacey to try to talk, but Stacey calls her weird and tells her to “Go AWAY” sending Angela into a knife wielding rage.

Two months after the murder, the police are no closer to solving the case. They interview Angela and even have her take a polygraph test (which she passes). Everyone thinks that it is Monica and they bully her. Angela (or now Angie) seems to be enjoying life without Stacey. She gets Stacey’s role as secretary/treasurer of the Larks, gets invited out on a date with the handsome jock, and is even told by a loser student that she is popular!

The police bring Angela back in for questioning because her alibi doesn’t take and her lie detector test came back to show that she has been lying. They let her go to stew in her paranoia and maybe confess. (All the evidence they have is circumstantial). Their tactic works and Angela writes a note to her mom, detailing the whole thing and asking for forgiveness

The end of the movie plays out, like the back half of a Law & Order episode. Seriously, unless it is Atticus Finch, I couldn’t care less. The judge convicts her to confinement until the age of 25 and she is charged with second degree murder.

Side Note

The true story that this movie is based on actually occurred at Miramonte High School in Orinda, California. 15-year old Kirsten Costas who was stabbed to death by a classmate, Bernadette Protti, on June 23, 1984.

The highest rated TV movie of 1994.

Overall rating

🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪 (5 Knives)

🍷🍷🍷🍷 (4 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 1994 Lifetime

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