Dangerous Lies Review: One of Netflix’s blandest and worst thrillers to date
Netflix’s latest thriller, Dangerous Lies, might have some recognizable faces that usually don’t disappoint and the potential to be at least a halfway decent thriller, but it’s truly one of the worst things this platform has to offer.
The film follows Katie (Camila Mendes), the new caregiver to a wealthy elderly man named Leonard (Elliot Gould). Her and her husband, Adam (Jessie T. Usher), are completely broke and about to lose everything until they suddenly come into wealth after Leonard unexpectedly dies and leaves his estate to Katie. At first, Katie sees this as an opportunity for a fresh start and a chance to clean up their debt. However, the new lifestyle not only makes Adam more frivolous and egotistical, but also attracts unwanted attention from not so friendly strangers. Things only get stranger as Katie begins to discover a web of lies forming around and she’s forced to question the motives of everyone around her in order to survive.
Now, I don’t normally read too deeply into a director’s past work, but director Michael Scott has actually had an interesting career leading up to Dangerous Lies. Before this film, Scott has pretty much made a career making Lifetime/Hallmark Channel mystery movies and Christmas specials and while it doesn’t necessarily say anything bad about him as a director, it was interesting that even though he’s directed nearly fifty films that Dangerous Lies is technically his first feature. Personally, these types of TV movies have garnered a not so good reputation and are generally considered a guilty pleasure for reason – they’re usually really bad. Unfortunately, Dangerous Lies pretty much embodies why these films aren’t good as the direction, acting, and storytelling are just plain pitiful.
After the first fifteen minutes, it’s easy to tell that a lot of the actors have very little chemistry and simply don’t feel comfortable with the material as the performance are totally one-note. While I’ve Mendes kill it on Riverdale, she looks so unconfident here that its kind of hard to watch. More often than not, it’s hard not to feel frustrated by Katie’s cluelessness and Mendes doesn’t make it any better by pretty much looking like she has no desire to be there or understand what she’s doing.
Everyone else can pretty much be labeled as unlikable as they all pretty much come off like they’re shamelessly auditioning to the bad guy in this movie. The red herrings are so obvious that it’s painful and if Katie wasn’t such an idiot, she probably wouldn’t be with someone as controlling and as much of a selfish asshole as Adam. Frankly, I’ve seen Usher play some morally gray characters before, like A-Train in The Boys, but he usually brings some charm to the characters that is completely absent here. Not to mention, the film’s dark and deep-thinking detective (Sasha Alexander) is easily one of the most annoying characters because she never show any emotions and always comes in with the same strategy of asking vague questions that reflect how oddly pretentious this film can be at times.
Frankly, it’s hard to put all the blame on the actors because they’re really trying their best with all of the incredibly weak material they’re given. The script from writer David Golden, who ironically also has done mostly Hallmark Channel mystery and Christmas movies, is absolutely atrocious. The script constantly repeats information that viewers already know and if you played a drinking game for the pointless amount of questions people asked in this movie, you’d be hammered by the thirty-minute mark. The character writing is also just not up to par and the film fails to establish believable relationships from the very beginning. Katie and Adam are basically supposed to be a young married couple, but the dialogue in their opening scene suggests that it’s like they’re meeting for the first time. The rest of the characters can be pretty much chocked up as annoyingly pointless, easy to hate, and going from seemingly unimportant to important for the sake of the plot.
The dialogue and direction also constantly give off this impression like we’re supposed to be watching the most intriguing and deep thriller we’ve ever seen, and I can assure you that Dangerous Lies isn’t that. The big issues I’ve always had with these kind of Hallmark Channel thrillers is that they always take themselves too seriously and never lean into their usually dumb premises to have any sort of fun. It’s almost like the film has too much pride to admit that some of its characters and story beats are going way too hard to take seriously and never come off as believable. Even when secrets are revealed, viewers will be so turned off by the material that none of it will matter and if the film didn’t keep repeating information all the time, it would probably be impossible to follow. Even the wrap-up is completely confusing with everything forcibly coming together like someone trying to get puzzle pieces with glue rather than them fitting neatly and it’s incredible how they tried to make things work when it adds nothing to the plot.
Dangerous Lies is easily one of Netflix’s blandest, atrocious, and non-sensical additions to date and the only real danger the film presents to viewers is the genuine possibility of dying from boredom. From the repetitive story, to the terrible dialogue, to the annoying characters, the film is an absolute mess from start to finish and embodies all the reasons that Hallmark Channel thrillers like this one constantly set a low standard for even the most mediocre films to easily overcome.