Deranged Granny (2020 Lifetime)
Cast: Wendie Malick, Amanda Righetti, Josh Ventura
Director: Jennifer Liao
Writer: Vicky L. Neal
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Synopsis (via Lifetime)
Barbara finds her last hope to be a grandmother when her son, Ethan, falls for Kendall, a divorce with children. At first, kept at arm’s length, Barbara quickly infiltrates the family by using devious tactics to win over Kendall’s kids. Unannounced visits escalate to murder as Barbara will do anything to protect her relationship with her grandchildren. With her life in danger, Kendall must outsmart her mother-in-law to save her children and expose Barbara for who she is.
A brown-haired woman is in labor with her husband, Ethan, by his side. Wendie Malick plays Ethan’s overbearing mother with fabulous leopard shoes. The birth doesn’t go smoothly, and they lose the baby. Wendie Malick scrawls “Murderer” on the doctor’s car windshield, and we get the title sequence.
Time passes, and Ethan’s relationship didn’t survive the loss. He doesn’t talk to his mother anymore, either. He meets a newly single mother with two kids, Bobby and Amy. Cue a montage to show Ethan and Kendall’s relationship developing. Kendall is an orphan and nudges Ethan to reconnect with his mother. He promises that he will, and then he proposes to Kendall.
Wendie Malick is back in Ethan’s life while wearing her TV movie uniform. (Turtleneck and pearls.) She seems to have changed; only she hasn’t. She keeps the baby blanket in a chest and snuggles it.
At a family BBQ, Wendie Malick is surprised that Kendall’s ex-husband (Calvin) and his mother (Jane) are in attendance. Wendie Malick brings brownies and almost kills Bobby. (He has a nut allergy.) Somehow it gets pinned on Lucy. Wendie Malick sticks around and helps with things; Kendall tells her she is welcome anytime. Shouldn’t have said that, because Wendie Malick stops by the next morning and meddles. Kendall attempts to set boundaries… until she needs a babysitter.
Wendie Malick bribes the kids with toys and iPads. Kendall sends the kids to say with Calvin instead of her while they honeymoon in Hawaii. Wendie Malick follows Calvin and the kids to a food truck and poisons his drink, causing him to get violently ill. She offers to watch the kids for him. Bobby is bullied at school, and Wendie Malick pulls the punk to he side and calls him a “little piggy.”
When Ethan and Kendall come back to pick up the kids, they don’t want to go. Ethan asks his mother to stop spoiling the kids. Then he talks to Kendall, who is upset that her kids like Wendie Malick more than her. (Who wouldn’t, honestly. Wendie Malick is fantastic.)
It is Calvin’s weekend with the kids, and he stops by to pick them up, but Wendie Malick has taken them to an amusement park. Cavin goes to the amusement park and tells his kids to come with him. Wendie Malick questions where he is taking him, and he tells her to mind her business. He goes too far and tells her that they aren’t even her grandkids: big mistake, Calvin.
When she learns that Calvin is moving to Boston and wants the kids during the summer, Wendie Malick makes a poison apple pie for him. He dies very slowly. Jane calls Kendall, worried after she hasn’t heard from her son Calvin. Good thing Wendie Malick has his phone and texts Kendall to stop her concerns.
Kendall talks to Wendie Malick’s neighbors, who experienced similar circumstances. The allergies, obsessiveness, kids turning against them. The neighbor warns Kendall to be careful. When Kendall brings the information to Ethan, he defends her… wasn’t he not talking to her after she scared off his first wife? Ethan moves in with Wendie Malick to give Kendall some space.
Wendie Malick finds out her neighbor Patty narced on her. She threatens to take away her kids for good if she doesn’t set things straight. Then she apologizes to Kendall.
Detectives find Calvin’s body, and Wendie Malick comforts Kendall. Amanda Righetti plays the moment well, and I feel for her character. At the funeral/wake, the actors continue to do some good acting and forget (momentarily) that I am watching a Lifetime movie.
A time jump happens, and Ethan is going out of town for work or something. Wendie Malick takes care of the kids while he is out of town because Kendall isn’t feeling well. Kendall is pregnant. Wendie Malick makes another poison pie and asks Kendall to come over to spend the night so that she can take care of her.
When Kendall arrives at Wendie Malick’s house, a detective calls and tells her Calvin’s death was from rat poison. Wendie Malick serves the poison pie as Kendall tells her the good news. Wendie Malick urgently takes away the slice and throws it away. She neglects to throw out the rest of the pie. Bobby and Amy get into the pie. Wendie Malick sees the pie and tries to make the kids throw up. She calls Bobby, “Jason,” and he screams at her. Kendall sees her acting strangely and wants to know what was wrong with the pie.
Kendall calls Ethan to explain what happened. Then she finds rat poison, and it becomes clear. Kendall calls 911, but Wendie Malick pulls a gun on her daughter in law and explains that she did it all for her grandkids. Speaking of grandkids, they come down and see the women struggling over the gun. Kendall tries to reason with her mother in law, but she turns the gun on herself. Police arrive and apprehend Wendie Malick.
Ethan and Kendall have their baby. Wendie Malick is in prison knitting a sweater for her new grandchild.
Minority Report: Calvin, Amy, Bobby, Patty, Doctor, Dr. Kline Jane, Guard, Brian. (I was a fan of the biracial family. It’s like ME!)
Written and directed by females.
Solid acting in this movie.
Also known as Grandma Dearest
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*Photo Credit: © 2020 Lifetime