Stressed to Death (2019 Lifetime)
Cast: Gina Holden, Taylor Blackwell, Craig Gellis
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Synopsis (via Lifetime)
A mother who is a former Navy Corpsman, fighting with PTSD, must risk everything in order to save her family from a devious revenge plot.
Maggie is a paramedic with a young daughter and a handsome and doting husband named Jason. She leaves for a night of work.
Victoria and her husband, David, are very much in love. They are planning a surprise birthday party for their son Alston. She sends her husband to the Kwik Mart for milk and eggs.
Maggie and her co-worker (Max Adler from Glee) are out working rounds and get called to the Kwik Mart for a shooting. Maggie goes inside the store and finds Victoria’s husband has shot as well as a young pregnant woman. Maggie gives the junkie shooter money and tells him to go out the back door. The junkie shooter bonds over being in the military, and then he forces Maggie to pick one person to save. Maggie has PTSD flashbacks to her time in the war and is paralyzed. David, Victoria’s husband, snaps her out of it and says she need to pick the pregnant woman. The shooter shoots David a bunch, and Maggie tries to save him, but he dies in her arms.
Ten years later, Maggie is terrorized by nightmares but is lucky enough to wake up in Jason’s strong arms. (Wow, he is a hunk.) They are raising (there now) teenage daughter, Jane, in a BEAUTIFUL KITCHEN. They recently moved to the suburbs, and Jason got a big promotion. Maggie wants to go back to work and has been working with a therapist to control her PTSD. Jason is reluctantly supportive.
Jane is in high school and in love with a boy named Alston. He is a popular jock, and she is a bit nerdy/arty. Jane tutors him at his home. They bond over their crazy mothers and have sweet chemistry. Jane leaves him a love note.
The families don’t stop intersecting there. Victoria is Jason’s boss and gifts him a necklace for Jane to thank her for tutoring her son, Alston. Victoria then talks to Jason about Maggie and getting back to work. The job promotion was a ploy to get closer to the family.
At home, Victoria carries around her husband’s ashes and feeds them to a venus fly trap plant she has named David. (Not Audrey II) All while watching the survivance footage from the Kwki Mart. (I’m getting serious “Little Shop of Horrors” vibes.) Then she hires some hitmen to kill the family in a particular way.
When Jane asks Alston about the note, he says he never received it. Jane bikes over to his house and sneaks in. She finds the letter torn up and is heartbroken. Then, she hears a commotion downstairs and finds the hitmen. They point a gun at her, and she is terrified. Jane bikes frantically home while being chased. Jane is relieved to see her father home. For a moment, you think she is safe, but the hitmen come in with a gun, pistol whip Jason, and kidnap Jane. (They also shoot a good samaritan who calls the cops.)
Maggie comes home and receives a call from the hitmen. They tell her not to go to the police. Detective are already on the scene because Maggie’s neighbor has been fatally shot. Maggie does some quick thinking. She lies to the cops, patches up her husband, and goes to save her daughter. Jason can’t just lay still and recover; he rushes to Victoria’s house, the last place he should be. Victoria pretends to take care of him and almost smothers him with a pillow, but chickens out.
Maggie frees Jane and fights with one of the hitmen. They are both recaptured. Maggie again bonds with the bad guy over serving the country. When he leaves, Maggie frees herself and Jane from the duct tape restraints with a knife. They run to get help. The hitmen realize that the women have gotten out and chase them through some woods. Jane is VERY thirsty. On their casual stroll to safety, they talk about PTSD, and Maggie promises to be stronger than her pain. (I’m not sure that is how mental health works. It isn’t a matter of being strong-willed. It is taking care of yourself and allowing time, therapy, and medication to help you.)
Jason knocks over the plant, and Victoria is devastated. She scoops up the plant and screams, “no, no, no, no!” Alston thinks his mother and Jason are having an affair and is disgusted with them both.
The hitmen catch up to Jane and Maggie. Jane gets the gun and tells the hitman to leave them alone. Maggie knocks out the hitman, and they walk away casually again. The other hitman catches them, and Maggie is chloroformed.
Victoria brings Jason to the Kwik Mart. The remaining hitman blackmails her. Victoria has to meet the hitman and bring money. Jason unintentionally comedically screams, “WHAT DO WE DO!” When Victoria goes to the ATM, Jason sees text come into her phone. He knows she is in on the kidnapping and calls the police. Victoria admits to everything when Jason asks about it. She then pulls a gun on him and forces him into the motel room where Maggie and Jane are being held captive.
Jason wrestles the gun from Victoria. The police arrive outside the motel. The hitman climbs out the window leaving Victoria with his gold gun. Victoria demands that Maggie pick who to save, her daughter or her husband. Maggie picks herself and then explains the situation with David in the Kwik Mart. Maggie says David is a hero, and killing her family won’t bring it back. Victoria cries, and Maggie apologizes for everything. Maybe both women can do some healing with lots of therapy.
Minority Report: Young Pregnant Lady, Popular girl, Good Samaritan, Hit Men, Detective Mitchell.
Should have been titled “The Wrong Boss.”
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*Photo Credit: © 2019 Lifetime