Last night’s Lifetime movie of the week, Deadly Spa, shocked us all by being about a spa where deaths happen. I know, right?! I’d like to preface this recap by stating that this movie would still scare me even if it were just called Spa and featured various scenes of people getting massages and sitting in saunas. Because spas are already my worst nightmare. My motto, in the immortal words of Emperor Kuzco, is “No touchy.”
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Except, oh look, we are getting ahead of ourselves, since, like any good Lifetime movie, this one starts at the end. There’s a douchey guy being rude to his mom on the phone, and he almost runs over Katniss Everdeen with his car. Instead of being all, “Whoa, you have a bow and arrow, I’m outta here,” douchey guy rushes to help Katniss. We get a shot of the girl’s sun and moon tattoo before they drive off, only to be run off the road by a van. And away Katniss is taken again.
Flashback to workaholic single mom Dawn (Amy Pietz) and her teenage daughter Kayla (Tracey Fairaway) deciding they need a spa trip. Kayla pronounces her name “Kyla” because ugh. They end up going to The Source, which is not an exclusive club the Hills kids frequented, but rather a relaxation/archery center. There are a number of red flags. First, they have to be picked up in a shuttle from the middle of nowhere to be taken out of radio range to the spa, but not before taking a totally pointless selfie. Next, their driver tells them, “Welcome to your best decision.” I highly doubt anyone on their deathbed would look up at their loved ones and say, “The best decision I ever made was going to The Source.” It also doesn’t help that David James (Johnny Whitworth), the creator, immediately tells Dawn she looks like his mother. “Thanks, bearded Norman Bates, but I think I left something in the creepy van,” I’d say, and all you’d see is one of those cartoony clouds of dust as I zoomed out of there.
But Dawn and Kayla are charmed by this, even after they find out there’s no TV or cell phones. They happily take a tour, during which David magically heals a woman’s staged hamstring injury. And did I forget to mention that we get a glimpse of Kayla’s tattoo which OH MY GOODNESS is the same one as Katniss’s and OH DEAR they’re the same person and OH ME OH MY I’d totally already figured that out? We’re also introduced to Dawn and Kayla’s matching friendship necklaces, which totally look like they’d turn your neck green, but unlike the tattoo, they’re important to the story, so remember them.
The spa also serves nothing but vegetarian fare, but luckily there’s a sweet employee who promises to get Kayla a burger which he never ends up bringing to her. His name is Brett (Devon Werkheiser), but he will be hereafter referred to as Burger Boy.
Things start to get scary when Kayla witnesses David threatening an employee, and when he subsequently locks her in the sauna. Kayla screams like a banshee when she realizes she can’t get out, and even the door is like, “Okay, shut up already, I’ll open.” What Kayla doesn’t see is David’s minion Siddhartha (really?) breaking the employee’s neck. He’s not at breakfast the next morning, but David explained that he was fired, so everyone just enjoys their tofurkey and forgets about it.
David has the guests attach their hopes and dreams to “truth arrows” and shoot them into a tree. After complaining about Kayla’s sarcasm (last straw for me), David sneaks a peek at her arrow, where she wrote, “I want to be beautiful.” I would have written, “I want to leave the deadly spa,” but that’s just me.
Meanwhile, Dawn flirts with David every chance she gets, which means acting drunk. If this place doesn’t serve burgers, I can’t imagine they’d serve alcohol, so where’s this tipsy behavior coming from? Kayla and Burger Boy also have a moment, and he almost tells her the secret of the spa, but David interrupts them so he can take Burger Boy aside and imply that he’s going to put him in a pillowcase and drown him like his father did to his puppy. Okay…
The next day, David gives a speech about making things happen with your mind or something Oprah would probably subscribe to and jumps off a cliff James Blunt style. Burger Boy tells Kayla that David’s a creepy cult leader who brainwashes people into staying at his spa. He explains how to escape, and she kisses him, because thanks for the info, Burger Boy! Then she immediately finds a dead body in the woods. Instead of sneaking away to call 911, she runs screaming back to the pool to give Siddhartha enough time to move the body. WHAT DID BURGER BOY JUST TELL YOU? Of course no one believes her, not even her mom, who’s all “David’s the best,” even though he talks like Christian Slater in Heathers and can’t commit to glasses on or off.
Before Kayla can run away, David catches her and ties her up in a room with a giant flashing light and a recording of his voice saying freshman creative writing style things like “kill the cancer of deceit.” Is it just me, or does this not seem so bad? I mean, it could involve having to make small talk with a dental hygienist or watching Eat Pray Love on a loop. Dawn’s only slightly concerned at first, but then she finds Kayla’s dinky necklace and is suddenly brought to her senses. Burger Boy starts to explain things to her before David stabs him in the neck with a truth arrow. David for some reason allows Dawn to call her ex-husband, and when she sees he has a framed picture of her in his office, she does what all of us would do and hits him over the head with it before fleeing with a bow and arrow. She gets to Kayla, but not before pushing Siddhartha off a cliff and killing him. Unfortunately David shows up, and gun beats arrow, so that’s a bust. Kayla gets away to spend some time with douchey car guy, while David chases after her with Dawn in the back of his van. Kayla manages to shoot him with a truth arrow, but it doesn’t kill him. After a lot of struggling, Kayla uses the power of her mind to achieve her hopes and dreams and kill him. See, the therapy worked!
Mother and daughter hitch a ride in the back of a truck being driven by TWO MORE MURDERERS! Just kidding, that doesn’t happen, but wouldn’t it be great if it did? The last shot involves one of David’s followers introducing a new group of guests to the spa… So Dawn and Kayla didn’t get it shut down?! Did they just get home, plop down on the couch and go, “Wanna watch some TV?” What gives?!