That’s right. After Jennifer leaves her own Christmas card in the box, her pen pal reveals that he’s actually Jack (New Girl‘s Lamore Morris, who is underutilized as usual), her best friend and neighbor growing up who — in a shocking twist for a Lifetime Christmas movie — has been in love with her his whole life without her catching on. But the weird thing about Jack is that he’s been dead for three years after dying in a car accident on Christmas day. I already knew this twist was coming because it was hinted at in the movie’s plot description. But I figured it was either a ghost situation or Jack had written the letters before he died. I guess that would have been too much like another critically panned eyeroll-inducer called P.S. I Love You, so they decided to go the “sending letters through a wormhole in a mailbox” route. As you’ve likely deduced, that just so happens to be the exact plot of The Lake House, a movie which was already pretty unoriginal in that it was a remake of a Korean movie.
At first I thought that Dear Secret Santa had added the “preventing somebody’s death through time travel” aspect to the plot, forgetting that it is indeed part of The Lake House‘s plot. Both of these movies decide to change the past, which if you ask me is pretty terrible (even though Family Guy is welcome to do it because it’s a cartoon and I’d like Brian back, please). Not only could it create a butterfly effect and have disastrous consequences, but it’s just so damn expected. I would have loved to see Jennifer come to terms with the fact that her one true love died before they could be together and moved on with her life, accepting that some things you just can’t change.
But that’s not what happens at all. After writing a card telling Jack not to go out on Christmas and throwing his lucky penny down the wishing well, Jennifer gets into a car accident and wakes up in the hospital with everyone there — including Jack. I thought for a second this was going to be some kind of Wizard of Oz “you were there, and you were there” moment, but it wasn’t, thank goodness. Too bad Lifetime revealed that Jennifer and Jack would end up together by teasing the last scene of the movie — in which they exchange presents by the tree — during a commercial break. Gosh darn it, Lifetime. First you rip off one of the corniest movies of the twenty-first century and then you ruin the ending even though we all saw it coming in the first place? It’s like I don’t even know you anymore.
P.S. This movie features the fake search engine Gobble, which happens to be the name of a fake social networking site in another Lifetime Christmas movie, All About Christmas Eve. #themoreyouknow