Secrets in the Mansion (2021 Lifetime)

Secrets in the Mansion (2021 Lifetime)

Cast: Natasha Wilson, Taylor Napier, Houston Rhines, Gina Vitori

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

When Brandi arrives at her boyfriend Aaron’s family estate, she is surprised to discover that his father is one of the richest men in the country. But as Brandi falls deeper in love, she begins to suspect that Aaron’s family harbors a deadly secret. Natasha Wilson, Taylor Napier, Houston Rhines, Gina Vitori star. (2021)

Thoughts

Wow! The song at the beginning of this movie is so ridiculous. What happens is even crazier. A woman runs through the woods, finds a dead body, is attacked by an owl, as a wolf howls in slow motion.

Cut to stock footage of Chicago and the same woman, Brandi. She is a fourth-grade teacher getting introduced to the new city by a best friend named Jackie. At Jackie’s downtown office, co-worker/Rich consultant Aaron asks for Brandi’s number. He looks like the Beast after he changes to a man in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Brandi is into it and accepts his date request.

On their date, Aaron wines and dines Brandi while talking about his intense family. They continue to date around Chicago by way of city stock footage. (Did Lori Lightfoot pay for this City advertisement?) The relationship develops quickly, like in one montage, and Aaron tells Brandi that he loves her and plans a summer trip to his family mansion in California. 

Brandi, Aaron, and Jackie (for some reason), all arrive at the California mansion. Aaron’s parents Lenorad and Fiona, are intense and seem to be grooming Brandi for something. Aaron’s brother, Owen, arrives in a full-on sweater over the shoulders preppy look. (Jackie is apparently dating him.)

In the mansion, Brandi has nightmares of storms and a black woman running around screaming for help. Or was it a dream? It doesn’t matter because Aaron laughs off her concerns and proposes to Brandi at sunset. It is VERY Bachelorette without the Neil Lane Diamond. The family celebrates, and Owen brings up a money-grubbing ex-girlfriend named Veronica.

The pool is featured heavily in this movie, and I’m concerned because it looks like Aaron can’t swim with his head underwater or at all. There should be a Lifeguard on duty. The house manager or caretaker, Reid, ominously looms around the pool staring at Brandi.

The black woman is literally shot in the head, and Brandi wakes up confused in the middle of the night. The movie wants me to think: IS IT A DREAM? However, I’m thinking: DO I NEED TO SEE THAT ON TV IN 2021?!?!? Brandi walks around the house to investigate and is grabbed by a gloved man who tells her to go back to bed and remember nothing.

The next morning, the family makes light of the whole issue and also… Jackie is gone. She left in the middle of the night to go to work??? Aaron tries to comfort Brandi by the pool, but everyone is distracted by his sunburn.

Brandi continues to look into things and finds shoes that match her attackers in Owens’s closet. She has a run-in with him while going on a jog in an unsupportive bar. It is more supportive than the family, who all gaslight Brandi’s concerns. 

In the middle of the night, Brandi heads out with a flashlight and finds a body in the woods, she goes to look with the family the following day, and surprise surprise, the body is gone. Brandi frantically digs like a dog with her bare hands. Then she looks for Owen’s shoes, but they are GONE!

Another woman is kidnapped; this time, she is Asian and is terrorized in the middle of the night. 

Jackie returns and takes Brandi to a tiny restaurant away from the mansion. The McCallesters are trafficking women. Jackie has been trying to get evidence and wants Brandi to help her because she is convinced they are bugging her cellphone and being followed.

The friends team up and devise a plan to catch the family! (Which, about time, movie!) Jackie lies to Aaron and Owen. She says that Brandi skipped town, but she is hiding in the car under a blanket in reality. 

Once it is dark, Aaron goes out for a drive and calls Brandi to apologize. SHE IS STILL IN THE CAR and manages to sneak out to find evidence. Reid chases Brandi through the woods, and we are back at the beginning of the movie.

Owen gets a call that Brandi is onto them, and he syringes Jackie to send her away where no one can find her.

Brandi sneaks into the house to steal the list of women who were trafficked. Aaron’s parents try to stop her and are not interested in losing the family business. Fiona pulls a gun on Brandi and plans to kill her. Aaron knows nothing and serves as good PR for the family. Brandi calls them Crazy AND Rich. (Which is the original title, which should earn this movie points, but no. Nope.) Aaron comes back to save Brandi, and sassily calls his family liars. Brandi asks if next summer they stay with her family instead. (LOL, forever. Not)

The move is hoping to shed light on a real problem but is about as tone-deaf and poorly executed as Lifetime movies come. A mystery about trafficked women of color, who are more statistically likely to be victims would be better told from the POV of those trafficked women or a POC Character realizing the horror of a family she has married into and the racial dynamics of that. (A good example of this done well is the excellent movie, Get Out.)

Side Note

Minority Report: Denise & Vivian (Both POC characters die horrible deaths and have no backstory or lines other than “No No, don’t kill me.”)

Also Known as Crazy, Rich, and Deadly

The Chicago stock footage is out of control in this movie as a time filler. I’ve NEVER seen so much stock footage in a TV movie before.

Mansion? More like Floridian Air BNB. 

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➡️ Check out our Youtube Channel: Lifetime Uncorked: Lifetime Movie Reviews

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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: 🔪🔪 (2 Knives)

Enjoyment Level: 🍷 (1 glass of wine)

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

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