Is My Daughter Really Dead or Gaslit (2019 Lifetime)

Is My Daughter Really Dead or Gaslit (2019 Lifetime)

Cast: Zoe McLellanMatthew PohlkampStevie Lynn JonesStephanie Charles

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

After Olivia’s ex-husband, Layne, dies in a mysterious car crash, she moves her family to a new town for a fresh start. Concerned about how her daughter, Hannah, is handling her father’s death, Olivia encourages Hannah to join their new neighbors when they invite Hannah on their camping trip. But when the neighbors return from their trip without Hannah, they convince Olivia that Hannah never showed up and that they have never even met her. Fearing her daughter is missing and that she is being lied to, Olivia enlists the help of the local police but is surprised to hear that Hannah died in the same car accident as her father and that they believe Olivia has been delusional in dealing with the truth. Certain she is not crazy; Olivia sets out on a mission to find the truth and her missing daughter.


The movie starts with a woman hiding in a tree trunk being followed in slow motion by a person with a knife in a black hoodie. 

Cut to Olvia (treestump lady) fighting with her husband. He is having an affair, like all husbands in Lifetime movies. Their daughter, Hannah, walks in on the fight and blames her mother for the impending divorce. Later, while painting together (like all rich white people.), they find out that he was involved in a fatal car crash. 

Olivia meets her new neighbor, Mary, who has a daughter the same age as Hannah named Sydney. She is trying to move on from her husband’s death and happy to have a new friend. Olivia also meets an old friend named Jack at her art studio. He wants to paint with Hannah to help her deal with the grief she feels losing her father. Olivia sets up a meeting for her daughter and Jack in her studio.

While Hannah is in the studio, Olivia and Mary have coffee and talk about the rollercoaster Olivia has been experiencing. Mary invites them to go camping with her and Sydney. It turns out Hannah didn’t spend time in the studio; she was next door talking to Sydney. (Who also lost her father.) Hannah also was invited camping and wants to go. She promises to be careful and leaves the next morning.

When Mary and Sydney come back, Olivia is excited her daughter is back, except Mary says that Hannah never came with them. Sydney couldn’t have invited Hannah to go camping because she wasn’t even home that day. Olivia is frantic and confused. She goes to the studio and asks Jack if he has seen her. He hasn’t, and he suggests she asks the neighbors and the police. 

Olivia interrogates Mary and screams in her face, calling her a liar. Then she calls the police who take her to her therapist. Olivia screams at the Therapist because her daughter is missing. The therapist tells Olivia that Hannah is dead; she died in a car crash with her father. Olivia doesn’t believe it and has a full-on (well-acted) meltdown.  

Mary feels bad for Olivia and responsible for triggering Olivia’s memory, relapse. She cooks for Olivia and helps her while she rests and tries to come to terms with her daughter being “dead.” The funeral home sends the ashes of her husband and her daughter. Olivia can’t deal and goes to talk to Jack. He doesn’t remember Hannah dying either but thinks Olivia must have just forgotten to tell him or something. As they talk it through, and they agree that things are not adding up. Olivia remembers a caterer had stopped by who saw Hannah at the studio. Before the caterer can get to Olivia’s house, she is murdered.

Lisa, the therapist, and Bruce, the detective, are conspiring together. Something is up, and they are shadily putting things in envelopes. They also do random check-ins. They are going overboard on caring too much, and it tips Olivia off. 

Olivia confides in Mary that she thinks Hannah is alive, and Layne (her husband) is too. They go to a cabin together. On the way, Olivia starts to question Mary and realizes that she may know more than she is letting on.  

Up at the cabin, we see Layne and Hannah living a perfectly comfortable life. He faked his death and claimed to have lost his memory. Hannah came across the cabin after Mary and Sydney left her when they went camping together. Hannah doesn’t seem to think it is strange or unusual; she is just happy to have her father back.

Meanwhile, Sydney goes to Jack and tells him that she is worried about her mother because she is a liar. Mary is the woman who was having an affair with Layne.

Finally, Hannah realizes that something is wrong. She overhears her father talking to Mary. Then he tells her that her mother died in a car crash. Hannah runs off.

Mary admits to gaslighting Olivia and conspiring with Bruce, Lisa, and Layne to abuse her senses to make her feel crazy. As she is telling Olivia all this, she is putting on a black hoodie and getting out her knife. Olivia sees the caterer’s body in the trunk and runs into the woods.

We are at the beginning of the movie. Hannah and Olivia run into each other. Then Mary grabs Hannah and holds her at knifepoint. Bruce and Lisa show up and are upset that things aren’t going according to plan. It is a mess. Bruce shoots Mary, who is waving around a knife and Layne, who is trying to restrain her. I’m feeling like this is excessive force and a gross.

The white ladies paint and recap everything. They say Sydney is going to be okay, but “is pretty broken up about everything.” Then they take selfies. (Ummmm. WTF.)

Olivia and Jack are in the studio and off handily mention that Bruce and Lisa are in police custody. Jack tells Olivia that he is here for her and gives him a painting. Olivia kisses him trepidatiously. Then he really goes for it, and they make out in the art studio. Am I supposed to feel uplifted?   

Side Note

Minority Report: Mary (who is gunned down in the end.) & Sydney

Also known as Gaslit

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Overall rating

🔪 (1 Knife)

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*Photo Credit: © 2019 Lifetime



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