Designed for Death (2021 Lifetime)

Designed for Death (2021 Lifetime)

Cast: Kelcie Stranahan, Matthew Pohlkamp,

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

After re-vamping a home, beautiful interior decorator Ava becomes madly obsessed with the handsome owner. She sets out to eliminate his family and live in the house she created with the man she loves. Kelcie Stranahan, Matthew Pohlkamp, Ashlynn Judy, Pauline Egan star. (2021)


The movie begins with a woman screaming while scrapbooking while in a cocktail dress; her name is Ava, and she has a neighbor named Betty who can’t read the room. THEN AVA TALKS TO A CREEPY BROKEN DOLL. (The symbolism is lost on me! Just kidding, Ava is the broken doll from an abusive mother.)

Jim, a handsome Lifetime hunk, hires Ava as an interior designer and asks her to decorate his house before his wife and daughter return from Europe. Their first meeting goes well if by meeting you mean Ava tells her whole backstory about losing her mother at 17 and having general sexual tension with Jim. 

Ava hires typically hot contractors, but Zach, in particular, is desirable in a bad boy way. (She later hires him to pose as a man Miranda, Jim’s wife, is having an affair with.) Ava stands around while the contractors work around her, and suddenly, the work is done. Jim is thrilled with the results and so are his wife, Miranda, and their daughter. Ava starts hallucinating and staggering around the house as she hears voices in her head. She makes it to her car to punch the steering wheel and cries. More childhood flashbacks occur. (The editing here is like the director used TikTok to edit this movie.)

While the family is out to dinner, Ava dresses up in her best burglar outfit and bugs the home with cameras, something she could have done while redecorating for a week. Why break in it? Makes no sense. She watches the family from home and sees Miranda and Jim swap out the bedding she picked out and then have sex while screaming ‘I HATE YOU!”

Darleen, Miranda’s co-worker, leaves for a work trip and is attacked by someone with a brick. (Or Ava with a brick.) Then Ava set Jim’s workplace on fire, destroying Jim’s father’s NASA documents. (I’m not sure, either, let’s just roll with it!)

The following day Miranda and Jim argue in the kitchen to the horror of their teenage daughter. (Who we know is a teen because of her plaid.) Miranda has to go back to work since Darleen is out of commission, leaving Ava to make her move on Jim again. She drops off a gift basket and bonds with Chelsea. Even hiring her on as an assistant. (The fact that Ava has a functioning business is truly the most shocking part.) 

“Derek” shows up and tells Jim about the affair he is having with Miranda. Jim is sooooooo over his wife. Miranda rushes home, and we get about 5 mins of stock city footage. When she gets home, Miranda calls Chelsea, who is hiding in the bushes at school.

Ava picks up Chelsea from school and acts (kind of) surprised by the news of the affair. Ava tries to fill in for the mother figure-shaped hole that Miranda has left. 

Everything appears to be ruined when Ethan/Derek stops being hot and starts threatening to tell. Ava hits him in the head and kills him while nosey neighbor Betty pounds on the door and screams about calling the police. (This scene also includes strange directorial choices and lame editing effects.) 

Ava has flashbacks of her mother, who looks nothing like her, talking shit. As Ava rolls up Ethan/Derek into a carpet, she takes a call from Jim and accepts a dinner date. 

Miranda is back and staying with Darleen. She says it is to help take care of her friend, but honestly, where the hell is Miranda going to go since she is a cheater. Darleen tells Miranda to do a “reverse phone lookup” to see who left her a strange message. Miranda puts on her glasses, and old lady looks up the number. (First, she writes it down from her phone AND THEN types it into her computer.) 

The date with Jim and Ava goes well; they kiss by a fake ass fire and then get down on the couch to really weird music. Ava starts literally planning their wedding. 

A hot cop is looking for Ethan/Derrik and questions Ava. Betty is insistent on seeing a warrant, which doesn’t really apply here. The hot cop looks through some things and finds a coffin-shaped box without a body in it. Everyone is surprised. 

Miranda confronts Ava and shows her cars WAY TOO EARLY. Miranda found out that Ava and Ethan were married in Vegas and is planning to steal her husband. Ava can’t take it and smashes Miranda in the head with a rock. Miranda is taken to the hospital with a hematoma while Ava works on her scrapbook. 

The doctor tries to explain things to Jim, but he doesn’t understand simple words like “Responsive.” Chelsea goes to Ava for comfort, and Ava accidentally talks about her wedding plans. Chelsea vows that they will never get married, so Ava pulls the IV out of Miranda’s arm and kills her. Jim catches Ava and realizes what she has done. (Okay, THAT is interesting.) Doctors rush to save Miranda as Jim watches on, pressing his hand on the glass sadly.

Ava goes on the run and leaves a note for Betty. Betty was the only person she ever loved. 

One month later, Jim is understandably depressed. I guess Ava poisons him with rat poison? (I saw some earlier.) Jim wakes up in the basement and sees his daughter tied on the floor. He is also tied to a chair and gagged. Jim uses his face to grab a letter opener and frees himself. Oh wait, they are in separate rooms. Took me a while to get that because we’ve been getting “security footage” for no reason. 

Instead of calling 911, Jim steals a car and rushes to save his daughter. Chelsea doesn’t need saving because she cuts her ties with some crafting scissors. Jim knocks out Ava with a candlestick, and the whole thing is anti-climatic. 

Miranda is responsive in the hospital, and the family is reunited. 

Ava is in a mental institution, and her only visitor is Betty with the doll. Cue more flashbacks for Ava as she cuddles the dolly. 

Side Note

Minority Report: Nancy, Darleen, Hot Cop, Doctor, Nurse, Car Guy,

VERY. BAD. MOVIE. It is one of the worst of the year. 

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*** I’ve updated the rating system moving forward start 7/26/2021. Knives represent # of kills. Wine is over enjoyment (NOT a value judgment) on a 1-5 scale.

 I will use the following tags for those who want to know watch or skip: Pour it Up (Would Recommend) or Put A Cork In It (Would Not Recommend)

Overall rating

Number of Kills: 🔪 (1 Knife)

Enjoyment Level: 🍷 (1 glass of wine)

*Photo Credit: © 2021 Lifetime® | A+E Networks®

Live tweet along with @LifetimeUncork using the hashtag #DesignedforDeath

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  1. Honestly, me and my girlfriend liked the old format where you used to publish articles once they are available. We both have subscribed to RSS feeds on your blog and it is very confusing when you publish article of a movie but there the review is not there.

    I don’t mean to be be bashy, we both really like your website and honestly your blog is the only lifetime movie review source of reviews for us. 🙂 Just wanted to give you a feedback.

    1. Thank you for following and for the feedback, Akari Jan! Don’t worry it is just a temp change while I’m getting busier with in person events. (I’m an event manager IRL.) as a way to hold myself accountable for writing I will be back to the typical release schedule with the holiday movies. Thank you!

      1. Thank You. 🙂 Please always keep this blog running, we really love your blog.

        God bless you.

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