Guys, I might have found my favorite Lifetime movie ever in this week’s In the Dark. After last weekend’s snoozefest An Amish Murder, it was great to see the network get back to what they do best: suspenseful thrillers about how evil men are. That’s the Lifetime I know!
Our heroine is Alijandra (Alijandra! Alijandra! Ali-alijandra! Ali-alijandra!), Ali for short (played by Elisabeth Rohm), an artist whose husband and adorable little hobbit-haired daughter are tragically killed in a car accident that leaves Ali blind. The Evil Man of the Week is Jeff (Sam Page, whom you might recognize as Joan’s terrible husband on Mad Men, Serena’s professor boyfriend on Gossip Girl, or the co-star of one of my favorite J.Crew catalog covers), the man appointed as Ali’s aid. She needs one, because according to this movie being blind is a lot like those old Sprite commercials with the “sublymonal” messages. Am I the only one who remembers those?
The story is very reminiscent of Wait Until Dark. For those of you who, unlike me, didn’t watch Turner Classic Movies religiously at age 14, Wait Until Dark is an Audrey Hepburn movie referenced in one of Blair Waldorf‘s Gossip Girl dreams. With me now? Basically, a blind woman finds herself in danger and must save herself.
Ali becomes fond of Jeff, as evidenced by the fact that, even though she stumbles around her apartment after six months of being blind, she touches his face once and knows he’s handsome. Impressive. However, we as an audience are soon clued in to the fact that Jeff is pretty unstable and creepy. Lifetime is very good at showing this (see: Fatal Honeymoon).
Sam Page fortunately went to the Lifetime School of Evil Acting, where you learn to talk like a robot, smile at inappropriate times, and burst into fits of rage at the drop of a hat. A good example is when he sees that Ali’s new friend Linda (Shannon Elizabeth) is over for breakfast, and she brought croissants. Jeff excuses himself and furiously crumples up the bag of bagels he’d brought. DAMN IT! CROISSANTS ALWAYS BEAT BAGELS! LINDA MUST DIE! (We’ll get to that.)
Turns out there are so many more creepy things a stalker can do if his victim can’t see him there. Lifetime knew this, and they took advantage of it. Jeff tapes his face over Ali’s husband’s face in photos on the wall, which she of course can’t see. He videotapes her taking showers. When Ali parts the clothes in her closet to pick out an outfit, he’s there behind her sweaters, watching her. All just a few pieces adding up to best Lifetime movie ever.
Jeff is so close to getting away with it, too, until Ali invites Linda over for dinner. First Linda brings sweet potato casserole. Always upstaging him with food! Then she sees the altered photos where he hid them in the bathroom. Something must be done about this. Jeff takes the casserole dish Linda conveniently left behind over to her apartment. For some reason Linda lets him in even though she now suspects he’s a creepy stalker. He then proceeds to kill her with her very own casserole dish. So poetic.
A few days go by, and Ali is craving some Linda time. Maybe she’s sick of Jeff’s bagels and wants some croissants. She calls and calls, but Linda never answers. Ali finally takes matters into her own hands and goes over to Linda’s place, to find her dead. If only Ali had remembered to get that sweet potato recipe before…
Later that night, Ali receives an ominous message from her doctor telling her that she looked into Jeff’s background and found some disturbing things, because disturbing background check results always turn up a little too late. Suddenly Ali remembers every suspicious thing Jeff ever did, yet she still for some reason leaves her apartment door unlocked for him to come in. First rule of being a blind woman: invest in a deadbolt.
So begins an edge-of-your-seat climax in which Jeff tries to attack Ali and she uses her blind woman experience to outsmart him. The most important tactic she uses? Spray paint his eyes so that he can’t see either. Works like a charm.
After Ali kills him (I think), she gets a guide dog. Probably would have been a better option to begin with, but no, Ali had to have her bagels!
Let’s hope this movie is a sign of things to come from Lifetime. The more creepy closet lurkers, the better, if you ask me.