Why am I so dizzy? Was I just whipping my hair back and forth again? No, I don’t think that was it. It must have been all the twists and turns I just experienced watching the new Lifetime movie A Mother’s Rage. Not to be confused with last year’s A Mother’s Nightmare or next year’s A Mother’s Ennui. That one hasn’t been confirmed yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s on the schedule.
It’s not really possible for me to discuss this movie without giving away these twists, so if you haven’t watched the movie yet and want to be surprised, stop reading. Or keep reading, if you’re a masochist who likes to ruin movies for yourself. No judgment.
This movie starts how all good movies start – with a mother-daughter road trip in a convertible as danceable pop music plays. You’d never predict the terrifying turn the story will take. Except you predicted it before you even started watching. Because you know Lifetime movies. And also you saw the commercials.
The title mother, Rebecca Mayer, is played by Aunt Becky Lori Loughlin. I don’t know who plays her Rage. It’s not credited. Rebecca is taking her daughter Conner (Jordan Hinson) to college, and she’s worried about her. A lot. So much so that when she sees a creepy guy offer Conner a cigarette, she just throws money at a gas station clerk instead of letting him properly scan the items. What is this madness? I’m also pretty sure she sleeps in the same hotel room bed as her daughter, even though there are two beds there.
All of Rebecca’s paranoia comes true, however, when she realizes the cigarette-offerer’s monster truck is following them down the road. Conner’s phone is conveniently dead – I should have realized the twist at this point – so Rebecca makes the only decision she can make. She tells Conner to jump out of the car so she can outrun their stalker. Because duh. This of course leads to Rebecca getting kidnapped by the greasy carjacker.
Meanwhile, we’re introduced to another mother who’s concerned about her daughter. Because… parallels! Sheriff Emily Tobin (Kristen Dalton) is initially angry at her daughter Molly (Alix Elizabeth Gitter) for showing an interest in crime by bringing gruesome photos into school and looking at dead bodies on the Internet and asking her mom to send her photos of dead bodies and basically wanting to look at dead bodies a lot. But as Molly says, “It’s what I love.” This upsets Sheriff Emily, but when her daughter starts solving the mystery of Rebecca’s kidnapping, she’s pretty okay with it.
And what exactly is the twist in Rebecca’s kidnapping, you ask? Oh, only that the car she was driving she stole from the psych ward she escaped from. And also that her daughter has been dead for two years! Dun dun duuun. At first I thought, it’s only like 40 minutes in; they should have saved this twist for later in the movie. But that wasn’t the only twist this movie had up its sleeve.
Rebecca has had a problem with low-lifes since her daughter was murdered by one. Sheriff Emily – with her brilliant daughter’s help – puts it together that Rebecca has killed low-lifes before in the same pattern. And Rebecca likes to mention to her low-life victims that they’re low-lifes. Say low-lifes again. Low-lifes.
It’s very convenient for Rebecca’s low-life hatred that she runs into them so often. First she gets to murder her kidnapper and throw his body off a bridge. Then she gets to lure a creepy bandana-wearing diner chef (Ted McGinley) into a pile of trash to shoot him in the groin. And then she picks up a young man named Calvin (Shaun Sipos) on the side of the road who just so happens to be the same man who killed her daughter… exactly two years earlier. And suddenly the murderer becomes the murder…ee! Twist! Turn! Ouch, I think I pulled a muscle with that one!
Cue requisite self-referential comment about these events inspiring a TV movie, and we’ve officially entered crazytown. Calvin starts torturing Rebecca by doing totally harmless things like stabbing her in the back and almost cutting into her with a saw. Thankfully Sheriff Emily shows up just in time to be totally confused and unprepared for what to do about this unexpected and strange situation. Who does she believe? The mentally ill mother who’s telling her this guy killed her daughter? Or the guy who has the mentally ill mother tied up and just dropped a creepy saw? Eh, better shoot both of them just to be safe. But not before she unties Rebecca and watches her stab Calvin with scissors.
Sheriff Emily feels insecure about all of this, until dreamy Detective Roan (Trevor St. John) asks her to coffee, and then she’s all like, “Call me Emily.” Typical Lifetime lady cop.
We end the movie with a scene between Emily and her prodigy of a daughter, in which they eat takeout on the couch and gab about crime. I smell a spin-off! It’ll be like Gilmore Girls… but with murder!
Side note: Do these movies not have room in the budget to hire actors to play the dads? Because there aren’t any. Like, ever. Just an observation.