Deadly Daughters full movie review - One of Lifetime's best -- but the trailer gives the big twist away!
The Lifetime "world premiere" on Saturday, June 11 was "Killing Mommy," a.k.a.
"Deadly Daughters," a surprisingly engaging thriller with a big twist about two-thirds of the way through, "presented" by Pierre David and Tom Berry (names that have previously been associated with a lot of Lifetime thrillers that have run the gamut from suspenseful to silly) and directed by Curtis James Crawford and Anthony Dufresne from a script by Trent Haaga. It's slow going at first mainly because there isn't anyone in it we actually like: it's about a mother and her two grown (25-year-old) twin daughters, though the twins don't look that much alike, at least partly because they're deliberately costumed differently to reflect their lifestyles. Mom is Eve Hanson (Claire Rankin), who's about to marry Winston Berlin (Rob Stewart), the guy she's been dating for four years since her previous husband Harlan (Jeff Teravainen) died in a bizarre accident: he was restoring a 1965 Mustang as a birthday present for one of his daughters when the jack that was holding the car up gave way and the car fell on him and crushed him.
The daughters are Juliana (Yvonne Zima), who wears her hair long and colors it auburn (mom is blonde) and is a wanna-be fashionista who's tearing through the family fortune left behind by her self-made father while ostensibly studying to be a fashion designer; and Deborah ? usually called "Deb" and also played by Yvonne Zima ? who has black hair that makes her look like she's auditioning to play Patti Smith in a biopic and generally wears a black leather jacket, a black T-shirt hailing the joys of LSD, and black jeans. She's also got a ring piercing on her lower lip. (Cinthia Burke and her associates in the makeup department deserve kudos for making the two Zimas look similar when they're supposed to and dramatically different when they're supposed to.) None of these women come off as sympathetic characters ? mom seems like a controlling bitch, Juliana a spoiled one and Deb someone who's going out of her way to rebel by drinking, picking up sleazy guys at a dive bar, and giving herself points for being "clean" because at least she isn't doing "hard drugs" anymore. Mom's boyfriend Winston doesn't come off any better; he's obviously a gold-digger who's just after Eve for her money, which he's already lost $100,000 of in a bad stock deal, which hasn't stopped him from pestering her for control over the rest of the fortune. Given the title, the main suspense early on is over which sister is going to kill mom, or try to, for her money ? Juliana, Deb or both of them in combination.
Though hamstrung by a plot that's all too predictable ? especially since what writer Haaga obviously intended as a big surprise was given away in the trailer ? Killing Mommy is great sleazy fun, not only because the actor playing Deke is the most genuinely handsome male in the film despite the stringy blond hair and scraggly beard he's outfitted with to make him look skuzzier (and the actor playing Winston is also genuinely handsome!) but because the characterizations are well drawn and genuinely complex even though our suspicion, based on hearing him talked about through the movie, that the late husband would be the only sympathetic character in the dramatis personae is borne out the one time we see him in a flashback.