Vanessa moves fast to claim Chris for her own, monopolizing his time and distancing him from his friends and family. His mother, Maddie (Annabeth Gish, “Pretty Little Liars”), feels unsettled by their sudden relationship and when she discovers a dark secret of Vanessa’s she uses all her resources to convince Chris to end it. (The more Maddie tries to protect Chris, the more Vanessa’s hold on him is threatened) Angered and vengeful, Vanessa accuses Chris of a heinous act that turns the school against him and sparks an online attack. As things get violent, Vanessa plans her next move and Maddie must find out Vanessa’s game before she loses her son forever.
Well, dear reader, you probably can guess that I watched this movie for one reason only–Sebastian Spence was listed on the cast list. I will get to his “role” later (you’ll understand), but permit me to review the movie as a whole.
First of all, this was what I call the “typical” Lifetime movie. Psychos, violence, blood–all that jolly stuff. My understanding is that this is inspired by actual events–another hallmark of Lifetime films. This movie is bloodier than most of the Lifetime films I have seen, so be warned that there is violence, blood, and some minimal profanity. There also were some suggestive and bedroom scenes. I can say that none of the violence is gratuitous. In fact, it was necessary to the plot (even though I wanted to look away a couple of times). Moreover, the movie made a lasting impression on me–my daughter is not dating until she is 40 (Okay, that is an exaggeration. Maybe when she is 35?).
Almost immediately, I recognized Jessica Lowndes as the crazy Vanessa. I first saw her in To Have and To Hold, and although she has other works to her credit, I have not seen them. I actually wondered it she only played crazy women. I was informed when I inquired of my friends that she does have other “normal” roles to her credit. Regardless, she played her part to a fault. This actress seems to be able to pull off the sweet, innocent girl who is totally out of her mind.
Playing her love interest is another actor with whom I am unfamiliar–Grant Gustin. He played the role of Chris Stewart exceptionally. Most notable were the scenes of his being high on drugs or alcohol–extremely realistic! And the chemistry between his character and Jessica’s character was hot and steamy.
As to the mother (played by Annabeth Gish), no one could have played this role better in my humble opinion. She played single mother Maddie Stewart who is doing all she can to see that her son gets his life on track after her divorce. I found her performance totally credible and heartfelt.
Now, to the reason I watched the film. I’m going to begin by making a formal complaint. Why on earth would they hire such a talented actor as Sebastian Spence and then only feature him with a five-minute role? He plays Steve, the recovered alcoholic father of Chris Stewart. He and Maddie are divorced, but she calls upon him to find out about this girl named Vanessa. He agrees and comes back to share his findings with both mother and son. Had it not been for his character, we wouldn’t have known the background of this girl, so we can be grateful his character came on the scene. However, he never returns!
The remarkable thing is, however, that Sebastian still manages to completely immerse himself in this role. Honestly, I am consistently astounded by the fact that no matter what role Sebastian is given in a film or a television show, he completely throws himself into it. His role made a significant impact on the story, and I still say that they should have brought him back at least one more time. I understand the focus was on the mother and son, but it made the father look rather uninterested in his son’s well-being.
So my verdict is this. The movie is worth watching, but I would hardly call this a Sebastian Spence film. At best, he makes a cameo appearance. The movie is intense and creepy, and I can’t complain about the content of the film. I just wish my favorite actor had a more prominent role. But I guess I should be grateful he was in it at all.
If you are interested in the film, check out the following sites for more information: