Stranger With My Face (2009 Lifetime)

Stranger With My Face 

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Stars: Catherine Hicks, Alexz Johnson, and Andrew Francis

Listen to the Lifetime Uncorked Podcast episode about this movie!

Synopsis (via Lifetime)

The delicate state of Laurie’s family begins to unravel when she discovers a twin sister she never knew she had.

Thoughts

Laurie is painting in her NYC studio when she sees her ghost father. (This is how it starts!) Her mom, Shelley, receives a phone call to notify her that Laurie’s father has been in a car accident and died. They relocate the family to a house they have on an island (I’m assuming the Hamptons or something?) The house is old and spooky and this movie is leaning into the jump scares right off the bat.

On the ferry to school, Laurie runs into Gordon (her old summer flame) and some of his friends. They tell her that they saw her at the bonfire last night, hooking up with Jeff Rankin in the boat house. She is confused, but they brush it off as she is embarrassed to admit hooking up with Jeff Rankin. (He has a huge scar on his face and is a bad boy.) When Laurie runs into Jeff at school she says she doesn’t remember him from last night and he is insulted and hurt.

Laurie’s father was a painter too, and his paintings  were accidentally shipped to the new house. This makes the family sad and miss him even more. Laurie can’t even stand to paint without her dad alive.

On a stormy evening, Laurie hears someone calling her name. They call out to her from far away. As she looks out the window she sees someone who looks like her standing in the woods. Laurie goes to investigate and finds her friend from school. Later that same evening, Laurie’s little sister, Alexis, screams and says that Laurie strangled her. But it couldn’t have been true because Laurie was in the other room, she says that her sister must have been dreaming. Turns out Laurie is adopted and her mom takes Alexis’s side. The rift between them grows even bigger when Laurie finds out that her mom is going to be selling her father’s artwork.

Again, in the middle of the night, Laurie’s bathtub starts running randomly. She tells her mom that she is seeing a girl that looks like her… in mirrors and her ghost dad. Shelley is unfazed and tells her that she will be going into town for a few days. The next morning before Shelley goes to New York, she admits to Laurie that she was a twin and when she was adopted they could only afford to buy one baby, so they split the sisters up. Laurie is horrified, because it is really fucked up thing to do!!!

The next day, Laurie goes to the library and pick up a book on astral projection. Laurie then buries the hatchet with Jeff at school. They are almost flirting.

Laurie has the house to herself because her mom is out of town and Alexis is afraid Laurie will choke her again. Gordon, her jock friend, comes over and tries to put the moves on her until an unseen force chokes him and throws him off of her.

Convinced that her twin sister needs her help, Laurie goes on a mission to track her down. Trying to contact the adoption agency and recruiting her friend, Helen, to help her. Helen is starting to worry about Laurie and calls her mom so they can talk. At the meeting place, by a cliff, Helen is pushed off the edge, again by a mysterious force. Shelley finds her body and we learn that Helen is in a coma.

Meanwhile, Laurie is able to talk to her twin sister in the mirror. She finds out that the sisters name is Lia and that she is locked in a basement by her adopted parents. Lia has been able to astral project since she was five and wants to teach Laurie how to do it too.

Shelley and Alexis are starting to become worried about because Laurie is talking to herself in her room and spending more time with her twin. They express their concern and  Laurie is starting to realize that maybe Lia isn’t as helpless as she seems. When Jeff Rankin sees “Laurie” in the road about to be hit by a truck, he tries to save her but almost gets hit himself. Laurie watches from the side of the road and sees similarities with her father’s death. She confronts Lia and catches her in a lie.  

Laurie finally astral-projects herself to Lia’s house. There, she sees a couple who miss their daughter. Lia isn’t locked in a basement she has a normal loving family and upbringing. Laurie tells Jeff about what happened and he is skeptical  but excited that she has the ability. Laurie calls the Abbotts to ask about Lia; he tells her that Lia is trouble and that she is in the hospital. She confronts Lia and catches her in a lie. Laurie knows that Lia is responsible for her father’s death because she was jealous.

Laurie goes to the hospital (by astral projection) and finds Lia in a coma-like state. It also isn’t a hospital—it is a mental institution. She also learns that Lia is deadly—having killing multiple people. When she tries to get back into her body, she can’t because Lia got their first. Lia admits that she did kill Laurie’s father. While in Laurie’s body, Lia plots to kill Shelley and Alexis so she will be the sole survivor of the family. Laurie is sure her family will realize that it is not her, but they love the new Laurie. At school, Lia seduces Gordon and gives Jeff the brush-off. Laurie has no body and is just kind of following Lia around and trying to get her friends and families attention as a ghost, she is running out of time and needs to go back to a body, Lia’s body.

Finally, Shelley starts to realize that something is off with her daughter when she is fine selling a painting that means a lot to her and doesn’t care that Helen woke up from her coma. Shelley goes to see Helen and learns about the astral projection. Jeff also thinks things are off and contacts the Abbotts, tracks down Lia at the mental institution.

Using her painting skills, Laurie paints her twin sister on dad’s paintings to try signal her mom that it isn’t her. Shelley realizes-ish what has happened and keeps Alexis away from Laurie. Jeff also knows about Lia, and he confronts her by the cliff. Lia attacks Jeff, Shelley, and Alexis. They call for Laurie to comeback and she does—but Lia won’t give up the body that easily and tries to kill herself by jumping off the cliff into the ocean. Laurie goes back into her body and is back to painting again. Laurie learns that Lia died in the mental hospital—but really she couldn’t get back in time and was trapped out of her body to fade away into oblivion.

Side Note

Movie based on a book of the same name by Lois Duncan.

The actor who played Jeff is Andrew Francis, who was in TWO Hallmark Christmas movies last year Coming Home for Christmas & Engaging Father Christmas.

Alexz Johnson is now a singer songwriter

Overall rating

❤️ ❤️ ❤️   (3 Hearts)

🍷🍷🍷 (3 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2009 Lifetime

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