Sins & Seduction (2019 Lifetime)
Synopsis (via Lifetime)
Pastor Leslie Reynolds always leads her sermons with one thing in mind, generosity. So her boyfriend John isn’t surprised when date nights are derailed by late night guidance sessions with parishioners. But lately, new town resident Gareth has been taking up a lot of Leslie’s time. The pastor is worried that the soft-spoken Gareth is being abused by his wife Emma. However, when Emma is suddenly nowhere to be found, John starts to suspect that there’s a much darker side to Gareth. Leslie is determined to see the goodness in him, but soon Gareth becomes dangerously possessive of her as his pastor. Will Leslie discover the truth to Gareth’s soul before it’s too late to be saved?
When Lifetime gets religious, I am always nervous. However, since this is a Marvista production, I had some hopes for a good time.
We start off with a little boy named Gareth, who is playing with his cars in the yard. His mom is a germaphobe and scrubs him with scalding hot water because cleanliness is next to godliness!
Leslie is a sexy pastor, and so are all the people in her congregation. Leslie BFF, Nancy, is the gossip of the group, and their two friends talk about a mysterious couple… Emma and Gareth. They are newlyweds, and Gareth feels terrible about his urges to be with this wife. When they come on, he runs himself under hot water.
Leslie’s boyfriend, John, is also a pastor, and he really wants to marry her. She doesn’t just want to be a pastors wife. She is kind of obsessed with the new couple and notices when the couple stops showing up to service. She also notices some burns on his arms, which Gareth bushes off as being from “yard work.”
Gareth and Emma invite Leslie over for dinner. They sit in the backyard and recite proverbs over sweet tea. The couple tells Leslie that they meet at a homeless shelter (she was volunteering, and he donated a bunch of socks to help.) Things get weird when Gareth mentions a lying quote from the bible and continually brings up his mother. Leslie overhears Emma and Gareth arguing and tries to make her exit as gracefully as possible. When she forgets her cake tray, she turns around to see the couple in a passionate makeout session.
The next day, Gareth tells Leslie that he thinks his marriage with Emma may have been a mistake. Leslie offers marriage counseling, but Gareth freaks out and says that Emma can’t know. It turns out that Gareth is getting abused by his wife. Emma is violent with Gareth and has even hit him with a hammer. (Like Maxwell!) Leslie offers to pray about it, and Gareth pretends to do so while he looks at a picture of Leslie.
Leslie stops by Gareth and Emma’s to get her cake tray and is surprised to find a sweaty Gareth answer the door. The camera bans to a bloody knife and shirt. Conveniently enough, Emma is out of town, and Gareth spends his day helping Leslie with church errands. We learn that Leslie is afraid of heights, and Gareth likes to take his shirt off a lot in this movie. (I don’t mind!)
Over wine, John and Leslie talk about Gareth. John has an uneasy feeling about the guy and questions his story about Emma going out of town. He is worried that Leslie is not setting boundaries with Gareth. Leslie gets upset and kicks John out of her place.
John may be right because Gareth invites Leslie to dinner and then starts prying into her personal life. He also steals her cell phone from her office. Leslie reluctantly agrees to dinner. She should have said no because this guy forces her to drink and holds onto her phone until the dinner is over, so she doesn’t get John’s messages. John sees them at the restaurant and is upset with Leslie for overstepping and acting inappropriately. She doesn’t see it that way.
Nancy goes over to Gareth and Emma’s house with some homemade chicken soup. The bitch just lets herself in and starts wandering around the house. She is surprised to find a framed photo of Gareth and Leslie. Gareth comes home and sees the soup bowl. He grabs the ladle and starts speaking bible verses and kills Nancy with her own soup ladle.
THEN he brings the soup over to Leslie’s house, and they share a bowl. Gareth spills some soup on himself. He goes to the bathroom to wash with scalding hot water over and over. Leslie talks about her college years when she was a party girl who got distracted by her roommate’s bible. She later enrolled in seminary. Gareth is so moved by the story he kisses her. Leslie asks him to leave and tells him this is wrong.
In the middle of the night, a break-in at the church happens. Leslie gets a call and goes to check it out. While she is there, she prays to God to forgive her for her lustful feelings for Gareth. As she is praying, Gareth listens just behind her quietly. Leslie turns around, and he is gone, but he has heard all that he needs to.
Leslie consoles Gareth one last time and pushes him to tell her where Emma is. He tells her that Emma is at a work conference. Gareth tells Leslie that she told him to cut her out of his life and freaks out. Leslie is worried that Gareth killed Emma and calls John to come over and talk all of this through. Gareth is having none of that and follows John home and hits him in the face with a crowbar.
With John not returning her calls, Leslie goes over to Emma and Gareth’s house herself. She finds the hideaway key and lets herself in. She sees Emma’s empty suitcase and a full purse. Leslie also finds a plane ticket that has gone unused. While she is snooping around, Leslie doesn’t realize that Gareth has come back from a run. She tries to sneak out but knocks over the suitcase. She eventually gets out and then immediately talks to Gareth on the phone. She asks him to meet her at the church at 7pm to talk about their relationship.
While Gareth waits for her at the church, Leslie sneaks into his barn and finds Nancy tied up. Gareth shows up and admits to killing Emma. Leslie grabs a shovel and tries to protect herself, it is to no avail, and she is knocked out by Gareth.
Leslie wakes up tied to a chair in the middle of the church. She is in a wedding dress, and Gareth is fixin to marry her. He proposes, and while he is doing so, Nancy (who is also in formal wear now?) tries to untie herself in the pews. Gareth tells Leslie that the reason he wants her is that she is the purest woman he could have, a pastor! John is also there and is tied to a chair, Gareth forces him to perform the ceremony at knifepoint.
While Gareth and John are arguing, Nancy frees herself and Leslie. They run around the church, trying to get away from Gareth. In the balcony, Gareth finds Leslie and almost strangles her to death. The lesbian janitor comes to their rescue and hits Gareth with a mop sending him falling to his death over the balcony.
Flash to three months later, Leslie is in ANOTHER wedding dress. She is getting married to John in the same church? How romantic????? Eeeeeee, no.
Alternate Title: Do Not Be Deceived
Minority Report: The one black lady in the congregation/movie played well (with very little help from the script.) by Alycia Cooper.
🔪🔪 (2 Knives)
🍷🍷🍷🍷 (4 glasses of wine required)
*Photo Credit: © 2019 Lifetime