Dead in the Water (2021 Lifetime)
Cast: Peter Porte, Catherine Lidstone, Angela Gulner, Sam Krumrine, Michael Blake Kruse
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Synopsis (via Lifetime)
A Lifetime Movie Club Exclusive Premiere! After being dumped, Tara’s best friend invites her on a lake house getaway weekend, where they cross paths with a mysterious, attractive man who forces them to face their demons.
Alright, we are here to talk about Lifetime Move club’s first exclusive premiere! You’d think they’d have sprung for more prominent names attached, but maybe Ms. Vivica A. Fox was busy.
Tara is an aspiring photographer who takes photos on a picturesque lakeside bridge. She is almost pushed over the railing by her brother named John. He knocks her camera over the edge; then he kills himself…. okay?
Ten years later, Tara has a negligent boyfriend, Derek, and a party gal BFF/roomie named Amy. Tara still takes photos and has a vlog. The girls go out and aren’t home until 3 am, leaving Tara behind on her vlog recordings.
The next day Derek breaks up with Tara via voicemail while she is working as hotel housekeeping? (What? I thought she was a photographer/vlogger. Lifetime leads don’t have real jobs.) Oh, wait, she is a waitress.
Amy says, “Dead in the water.” around the 12 min mark, so that is something! Then she suggests the girls have a getaway at her parent’s lake house in the middle of nowhere. It is the same weekend as John’s suicide.
The lake house is beautiful, with a fantastic entryway. Tara is less focused on the house and more concerned with the wifi situation, you know, for her vlog. (Wow, vloggers are the worst!) The lake house also appears to be haunted, so there is that. Doors open by themselves, and perfumes go missing.
The friends make pasta and drink wine while talking about how lame Derek is. Later the two take photos on the dock, and Tara opens up about her brother’s death and how it ruined her relationship with her parents. With all that out of the way, they agree not to talk about guys for the rest of the trip. (Thank God, this movie was not passing the Bechdel test.)
Well, that is until a handsome (and I mean HANDSOME AF) stranger named Lucas shows up with five a clock shadow. He is backpacking through the woods and asks to use their lake house to charge his phone. Amy agrees and plans to set Tara up with Lucas.
The three have dinner and wine. It seems like Amy and Tara have more chemistry than with Lucas. Tara brings up her brother again and the trauma of losing him. Lucas also has experienced loss and relates to Tara. He shares that he used to be a pharmacist and decided to give it up to hike through the woods. It is a flimsy story.
Tara takes a shower and feels like someone is watching her. Tara watches some footage on her laptop and sees someone watching her record in the background. Could it be Lucas? The file is deleted overnight.
Lucas, Tara, and Amy drink the night away and play pool sexily while listening to records. The next morning, Tara is very concerned about her missing perfume and now phone charge. She blames Amy, and they argue over Lucas. (Eyeroll.)
Meanwhile, Lucas “fixes” Amy’s car while wearing a tank top. Then Lucas and Tara make out on the dock.
Derek shows up at the lakehouse and tries to win Tara back. Lucas overhears the couple arguing and intervenes, defending Tara’s honor. On his way back to the city, Derek realizes that he knows Lucas and rushes back to tell Tara. Lucas kills Derek with a decorative swan. Then we get a shot of a bird flying. Artistic!
Tara finds Derek’s body floating in the water and has some severe PTSD. (Her hair looks terrific here tho! UPDATE it is a mirage or something.) She rushes back to the house to tell Amy but cannot find her friend anywhere. Amy and Lucas are upstairs getting it on. When Tara finds them together, she freaks out on Amy. The girls are savage to one another, and Amy admits to sleeping with Derek. Then she tells Tara that she should have drowned instead of her brother. It is ugly and beyond mean girl behavior. Tara’s car won’t start, and she can’t leave. Tara accuses Lucas of messing with her car and reluctantly stays the night after Amy apologizes, taking back everything she said. (I would not forgive her!)
Tara goes through Lucas’s backpack in the middle of the night and finds her perfume and charger. She also finds a camera full of pictures of her taken from afar; Lucas has been stalking Tara for weeks. She leaves the house and finds Derek’s body in his car. Lucas chases after her and tells Tara that she deserves better. Then he knocks her out.
Tara wakes up sedated while Lucas strokes her hair. Lucas has been obsessed with Tara since the sixth grade. He went to school with her and was named Brian. He pushed Tara’s brother off the bridge. Now is his moment to show Tara how much he is in love with her. (YIKES!)
He carries Tara into the woods. Amy is tied up and pleading for her life. Lucas is about to kill Amy, but Tara stops him because she wants to kill her herself. Tara talks mad trash to Amy and tells Lucas to give her the knife. After a long monologue, Tara stabs Lucas instead and pushes him into the lake.
Tara and Amy run through the woods and shove Derek out of his car. It is a stick shift, and they can’t drive it. (Maybe the most real moment in this movie. Haha.) Lucas lurks closer to the are and screams that he loves her as Tara runs him over with the car.
Two months later, Tara is moving to… who cares. The end!
Minority Report: John, Tara,
Written and directed by Nanea Miyata
Also known as Nanny’s Killer Scandal or Nanny Danger
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