It’s happened to everyone at one point or another: you marry a ruthless, deceitful bald and mustached man, fall in love and start having sex with his hunky, meticulously waxed son, and then become involved in your husband’s mysterious death. That’s the great thing about some of these Lifetime movies – sitting and watching them with my coffee on Saturday morning, I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that I’m not alone and that at least one other person understands.
After a long, boring trial and two totally lame electric guitar-fueled vaguely incestuous sex scenes, the mother-stepson pair is acquitted of any wrongdoing concerning their husband/father. However, as they continue their relationship, it is slowly revealed that the stepson actually killed his own father in order to be with his stepmom. When the stepmom finds out, he gets angry with her and accidentally falls off a cliff (this is often how LMN movies are resolved), leaving him paralyzed. Roll credits.
My favorite part of the film, other than the fact that it made me feel better about all of my stepson love affair/murder incidents, was the way the hunky stepson (played by Joshua Morrow) was dressed so hunky, no matter what the situation. He is perpetually tanned and oiled and he seems to be physically unable to button a shirt any farther than his navel (when he manages to wear one at all). Even when he is in jail during the trial, his one-piece prison uniform is utterly, weirdly sexy – its sleeves are ripped off to show his bulging arms, and the front is gaping open, revealing his hard, waxed pecs. It’s as if the director wanted to audience to think, immediate family or not, who wouldn’t sleep with this guy?
The star of the film, Rachel Ward, is English and was primarily a model in the early 80s. Both of these facts become increasingly clear each time she opens her mouth. Her accent, or whatever, is the most confusing thing I’ve ever heard. One moment she sounds British, then American, then Australian, then Southern. Mostly, she sounds deaf – and you can see her struggling on camera to push words out of her mouth in some sort of consistent way.
Her accent even seemed to be an inside joke on the set – I couldn’t help but laugh out loud during a scene where Ward calls her lawyer for help after discovering her stepson was the murderer. “What’s the matter?” he asks, “You sound terrible!”
The moral of the film seems to be that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree: if you marry someone controlling, ruthless, and partial to planning inter-family murders, don’t start sleeping with his son. He’s probably going to be just as partial to planning inter-family murders and then covering it up. Although he will also be considerably hunkier.