A Father’s Nightmare (2018 Lifetime)
Stars: Kaitlyn Bernard, Annabeth Gish, Jessica Lowndes
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Synopsis (via Lifetime)
A follow up to “A Mother’s Nightmare,” reeling from the recent death of his wife, Matt sends his daughter Lisa off to college, where she falls under the spell of her older, more mature roommate, Vanessa. As Vanessa’s manipulation sets Lisa on a downward spiral, Lisa and Matt grow further apart, while her dependence on Vanessa deepens. But, will Matt figure out what’s really going on before it’s too late?
The movie starts with a flashback from “A Mother’s Nightmare.” Where Vanessa killed a bunch of handsome men. She is in the mental institution but is released early because she promises that she is better this time! Vanessa leaves with her guitar and cellphone filled with videos of her murdering men.
Vanessa meets a guy on a college campus who is almost her next victim, but she creeps him out. Vanessa befriends a cute guy named Jim, and she flirts with him. She convinces him to put her in a dorm room with a gymnast named Lisa, who is at college on scholarship. Lisa has recently lost her mother and is brought back to school after winter break by her handsome father, Matt.
When Lisa gets to her dorm, she is confused to see Vanessa has moved into her room and is uncomfortable living with a twenty-five-year-old college freshman. (Thank GOD, they didn’t make her pretend to be 18, because no one is buying that.) Matt tells his daughter to make the best of things.
Gymnastics montage happens, and I AM LIVING FOR IT! Lisa sees her friend Katie at practice and asks about what happened with the room. Katie is just as confused. When Lisa talks crap about Vanessa, and she is right behind her. It is awkward. Even more embarrassing is when Vanessa calls food, “Grub.”
At lunch, the girls tell Vanessa how seriously they take gymnastics and the pressure they are under being on scholarship. Vanessa is very interested. in how they could lose their scholarship and calls Sasha a “fake ass bitch.” Lisa and Vanessa bond over losing their mothers too young. (The dialogue here is well written and emotional. Very well acted by the two leading ladies.)
Lisa and Vanessa are surprised to learn that they have a lot of classes together. They are becoming fast friends. The kind of friendship that you can only grow in college. Vanessa won’t let anyone else get close to Lisa and starts deleting incoming texts from Lisa’s teammates. Vanessa offers to join Lisa at her practice to record her routines.
Vanessa is still hanging out with Jim, and by hanging out, I mean sleeping with him and stealing his Adderall. Vanessa plays her guitar and sings (Let’s not forget Jessica Lowdens is an aspiring singer.) Lisa loves Vanessa’s singing and invites her to have dinner at her dad’s house.
After dinner, Matt notices something is wrong when he catches Vanessa talking to herself in the bathroom mirror. She claims she is on the phone, but he sees her cellphone on the table. Vanessa and Lisa look at a music box that reminds Lisa of her mother. (Her mother was a ballerina, and her fav dance is from Swan Lake.) As they go to bed, Vanessa puts doubts in Lisa’s head about Sasha and Katie, saying they were talking trash about Lisa.
Lisa gets in her head and starts making mistakes in practice. Her coach is pissed. The first gymnastic meet happens, and the team kills it. Well, everyone except for Lisa, who almost falls off the balance beam while Vanessa watches smugly. Matt sees Vanessa and doesn’t trust her anymore. He comes home to finds the music box smashed.
Matt calls Lisa’s old coach, Laney, to check things out, Laney reassures Matt that Lisa is spreading her wings and is lucky to have such a devoted friend.
Vanessa gives Lisa Adderall to help her lose weight. (Lisa does not have weight to drop, by the way.) After a week of taking the pills, she makes the competitive team and does an excellent floor routine. (So much gymnastics in this movie and I am here for it.) Matt notices that his daughter’s pupils are dilated and accuses her of taking pills. Lisa freaks out on him and tells him to stop coming to her meets. Lisa is riled up, and Vanessa gives her downers to get some rest. Lisa becomes addicted. (A real Judy Garland story! Upper and then downers. Pills, Pills, Pills.)
Matt follows Vanessa and discovers her receiving pills from Jim. He confronts Jim about the drugs and sees that he works in the registrar’s office. Jim comes clean about Vanessa seducing him into becoming roommates with Lisa. Matt demands that Jim pull Vannessa’s files. He goes to Lisa’s room and takes her home for the weekend. At dinner, Lisa throws up all over the dinner table; it seems like she is going through withdrawal.
Lisa calls Vanessa and asks what is wrong with her. Vanessa tells Lisa to come back to college, and they become blood sisters. (Like with candles and everything.) I hope these girls have had their shots. The pills aren’t helping anymore, and Lisa starts failing at practice. Vanessa takes Lisa to a party so they can blow off steam and loosen up.
At the party, Lisa drinks and takes drugs while Vanessa films her with her cell phone. The next day Lisa is hungover AF, and guys are laughing at her. A video has gone viral on social media. Then the girls flunk out of English class for plagiarising. The coach sees the video, and Lisa is subjected to a drug test. Jim also is arrested for supplying drugs to a minor. Lisa is almost suicidal, and Vanessa encourages Lisa that life isn’t worth living. She feeds her vodka and makes her write a suicide note. (Shady, Bitch.)
Matt receives Vanessa’s transcripts and discovers some discrepancies in her stories. Laney joins him to talk to other teachers from Vanessa’s transcript. They get the information of a boy who Vanessa almost killed and go to talk to his mother, Maddie Stewart. (From A Mother’s Nightmare) She warns Matt that Vanessa is dangerous. Vanessa’s mother killed herself and was a ballerina who knew Lisa’s mother somehow.
Vanessa takes Lisa to talk on a tightrope with a rope around her neck. Lisa struggles to keep her balance as Matt arrives. Matt calls Vanessa Amanda and tries to reason with her. Matt is Vanessa’s father, and her mother is his sister. Vanessa is confused and upset that her mother is alive. The police arrive, and Lisa is saved. The mother sings the song to her daughter as she is placed into a police car.
Lisa is back in the insane asylum and receives a letter from Matt apologizing for everything. He promises to be there for her and visit soon—the end.
Minority Report: Sasha, Laney,
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*Photo Credit: © 2018 Lifetime