Secrets in the Desert (2023 Lifetime)


Secrets in the Desert (2023 Lifetime)

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Cast: Kayleigh Ruller, Alex Trumble, Christopher Sky

Director: Peter Sullivan

Writer: Robert Dean Klein, Peter Sullivan

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

While on a road trip through the desert, Charlie and her boyfriend Aidan break down in the middle of nowhere. While Aidan waits for a tow truck, Charlie heads to a nearby diner to find help. When Aidan goes missing, Charlie finds herself stranded in a strange town unsure who to trust. The only thing she knows is… she might just be their only chance to get out alive. Stars Kayleigh Ruller, Cailin McDonald, Alex Trumble, Emmanuel Jalbert, Christopher Sky, and Kelli Dawn Hancock (2023).

Recap/Wine Thoughts.

Inspired by Actual Events

The movie begins at a desert gas station with many cute cacti. A woman pulls in for gas and is surprised to find the station locked; she is even MORE shocked when a beautiful blonde woman (who looks like Hayden Panettiere) runs up to her, screaming for help.

Like, they should play sisters!

Flash to nine hours earlier, where we meet Charlie, a longtime camper. She used to hike the trailers with her dad before he died. He recently passed away, and Charlie’s fiance, Aiden, is helping her plan his memorial while they hike the desert trails in her father’s memory. Since they are in a car and a Lifetime movie, they almost get in a car accident during a touching moment. 

Rattled, they pull off at the Cactus Gas station to charge their car. The gas station does not have an electrical carport, so the couple grab some snacks and plan to get back on the road. A guy named Jake in a goofy hat hits on Charlie and tells her Aiden isn’t good enough for her. He majorly creeps Charlie out.

This hat was a choice!

Back on the road, they run into more car trouble when the battery dies suddenly. They also don’t have cell service. Instead of arguing, they flirt/fight, and I’m in love with this couple already! (Anyone who can turn a stressful moment into a chance to laugh is good in my book.)


While they are making out, a car drives by, and the driver stops. The driver turns out to be a big old lesbian named Pamela. Pamela uses her CB radio to call for help. The repair truck will come by in an hour, and Pamela offers to take them into town to wait. The couple decides to split up, which is an interesting choice. Sending Charlie into town while Aiden waits for the charger.

While driving into town, Charlie opens up about her father passing away. She also thinks talks to Pamela about a new job opportunity. Pamela says she had a daughter who passed away while planning a wedding. Pamela tells Charlie she reminds her of her little girl before dropping her back at the gas station, which is also a restaurant called Cactus Jacks. After waiting for a long, Charlie asks the waitress about Owen the mechanic and is concerned that Aiden hasn’t shown up yet.

They seemed to get along so well!

Jake joins Charlie at her table and tells her that if she was her girl he would never let her out of his sight. Charlie asks him to let go and reaches for the pepper spray in her purse. Jake continues to be creepy! Owen pulls up with the car on a tow and I’m suprised he is a hunk too! Is everyone in this movie a hunk?!?!?! Speaking of hunks, Aiden is no where to be found.

Charlie calls Aiden with Owen’s cell phone and gets no answer. He offers to take Charlie back to the desert after he completes another job. Charlie talks to the police and the deputy doesn’t seem too concerned. He tells Charlie that Jake is a nice guy and wouldn’t hurt Aiden. They search the desert road and find nothing, but a set of airpods. The area is a hunting ground randomly and Charlie runs right to the shooting sounds. A hunter tells them that he saw Aiden waiting on the side of the road. Then Charlie randomly jumps into his RV calling for Aiden.

Back at the diner, a drunk tells Charlie he saw Aiden the week before. This makes no sense, and Charlie starts to spiral with worry. Jake offers to help, but Charlie runs out of the restaurant and into Pamela. Pamela asks Charlie if she is okay before knocking her unconscious.

Charlie dreams of hiking with her father, and he tells her that the way never to get lost is to look at the sun or something. I should have paid more attention because it seemed like good advice.

This movie loves a daddy daughter flashback

Charlie wakes up tied up in a garage. Pamela and Owen are working together to extort the 1.5 million dollars Charlie stands to inherit from her father’s estate. They hold Aiden hostage to force her to do what they want. Pamela goes full-on villain now, giggling maniacally and making evil faces. They drive to the local—coffee shop to make the bank transfer on the WIFI there. (In this scene, there is an extra who is a kid, and he is the coolest extra I’ve ever seen.) Wait, he turns out to he in on the extortion scheme too. LOL!

This kid HAD to be someones son, right?! So funny.

After transferring the money, Charlie tries to steal a fork to defend herself. She demands to hear from Aiden to prove he is alive, and Pamela gets him on the line. Charlie promises she will save him. Trying to think quickly, Charlie asks to stop for a bathroom break. She searches for something else to use as a weapon and settles on hiding instead. Then she locks Pamela in a the garage steals her car, after pepper spraying Pamela in the face.

Charlie goes to the police again and recounts everything to the deputy. He still doesn’t really believe her for some reason. The deputy gets the sheriff, who is PAMELA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wait, wut?!?!?!?!

Now, on the run from the sheriff, Charlie sneaks into Owen’s house to save her fiance! She is devastated to find he is working WITH Pamela and Own to extort the money. Can my man, Alex Trumble never play a good guy!!!?? He is so charming! 

I know he is evil, but he is so hot

Aiden tells Charlie that he will cut her in and tries to get her not to turn him in. She goes all ninja on him and spin-kicks him. Then she drops some machinery on top of him before vowing to make sure he and his friends rot in prison.

Pamela and Owen free Aiden and then kill him anyway because he has served his purpose in the extortion plan. (RIP Aiden! You were so hot and only evil like one scene.)

Charlie goes back to the police station and tries to warn the deputy; he doesn’t believe her still and ends up getting knocked unconscious by Pamela.

We are back at the movie’s beginning, where Charlie ran up to the woman for help at the gas station. The woman speeds off, and the whole thing is anticlimactic.

Charlie breaks into the gas station and calls the police. The dispatch connects her to Pamela, and that isn’t helpful!

What is helpful is Jake; he is back with his stupid hat and helps Charlie fight off the bad guys before running away in fear. Charlie uses the lessons her dad taught her to overcome her captors. Pamela ends up getting crushed by some scrap metal. Owen is arrested and charged with a slew of crimes.

“Oh nooooooo!”

Charlie makes it to her father’s memorial and makes a point to go alone because she doesn’t need a man except her dad, who is the only man who loved her. Charlie drives around listening to voicemails from her dad on repeat. Awww????

The photoshop white beard is just rude

Side Note/Stray Thoughts

Minority Report: Jake, Waitress, Barista, Computer Kid, 

The whole dad being he best the one true love thing is so strange to me. Like the daddy daughter dance at a wedding, it is just odd. Anyone else feel this way?

The real question is Ranch or BBQ! Sound off in the comments! 

Ranch or BBQ?????

Overall rating 

 Numbers of Kills: 🔪🔪🔪 (3 knives)

Enjoyment Level (1-5 scale) 

🍷🍷🍷 (3 Glasses of Wine)

Should you watch it?

Pour it up! (Give it a shot)

Put a Cork in It (Skip It)

What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments or on social media @LifetimeUncorked & @patrickmiguel 

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*Photo Credit: © 2023 Lifetime® | A+E Networks®

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