30th April 2020 (Netflix Premiere)
When a wealthy elderly man dies and unexpectedly leaves his estate to his new caregiver, she's drawn into a web of deception and murder. If she's going to survive, she'll have to question everyone's motives - even the people she loves.
Camila Mendes, Jessie T. Usher, Elliott Gould
Netflix carve their own slice of the murder mystery action with Dangerous Lies, a by-the-numbers cautionary tale of how greed and good fortune can potentially corrupt even the most down to earth folk.
Drowning in student loan debt and credit card bills, young couple Katie and Adam are still reeling from the robbery at the diner Katie worked at. She decides to switch jobs and become a carer for a wealthy elderly man named Leonard. Living alone in a huge mansion, the pair become close friends in a short space of time. When Leonard dies suddenly, he had secretly made arrangements to leave his entire estate to Katie. Her sudden inheritance draws Katie into a web of deception and murder causing her to question everyone’s motives – including the people she loves.
Knives Out this ain’t. Directed by Michael Scott, who specialises in Made-For-TV tat with wonderfully awful Hitched for the Holidays, Deadly Visions and Bridal Wave, Dangerous Lies is business as usual for him. It has all the hallmarks of a Lifetime Movie and Scott’s 30-year expertise in that specific field means he knows the template inside and out. As long as you know that’s what to expect, your enjoyment level of Dangerous Lies will follow suit.
Think of it as looking at a roller coaster before riding. You can see all the twists and turns before you experience them but as long as the ride is smooth, it doesn’t make them any less fun. The same can be said for Dangerous Lies. I figured out the main gist of its story within the first fifteen minutes or so, but thanks to an engaging if occasionally overstuffed script from David Golden, I was – mostly – on board with its preposterous and predictable plotting. There’s certainly some pacing issues which result in plodding patches and a haphazardly rushed finale, but you can never accuse Dangerous Lies of being completely empty of intrigue.
It’s helped by stable performances from Camilla Mendes (Riverdale) and Jessie T. Usher (Netflix’s rebooted Shaft and Amazon Prime series The Boys) as the believable millennial couple who find themselves with more money than sense. Usher especially shines as the spotlight of suspicion increasingly glares on him when he becomes reckless with the windfall. Sasha Alexander (Mission: Impossible III) interrupts infrequently as Detective Chesler investigating Leonard’s demise, but it’s Cam Gigandet (Twilight) as the suspiciously attractive and persistent real-estate agent who smoulders harder than a hot crater that poses the biggest threat. Veteran actor Elliott Gould (Ocean’s Eleven, Contagion) brings some prestige to the picture as the ailing Leonard and his short appearance here is a much welcomed one.
Dangerous Lies is as safe as TV thrillers come. It’s a last resort, background-fodder choice that you’ll likely find yourself paying more attention to than intended thanks to its barrage of juicy, albeit foreseeable, revelations.
Dangerous Lies is now available to stream exclusively on Netflix.
Familiar story told well
Very little surprises
Royalty free sounding B-Sides for soundtrack