THE LIE | Shlock Footage

By: Jenn Coulter

Happy Halloween, folks! If you’re like me, you’ll be spending it snuggled up on the couch and ignoring any trick or treaters. My town is still having festivities, but personally, I am not down to let hordes of COVID kids onto my porch. Instead, I’ma watch some movies! There are a ton of horror movies that just dropped on VOD – horror titans Blumhouse just dropped four feature length films in a series called Welcome to the Blumhouse. Of course, instead of checking out one that actually seems scary, I picked the one with the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score and a plot ripped straight out of a Lifetime movie – The Lie, starring Joey King, Peter Sarsgaard and Mireille Enos.

The movie starts pretty innocently. Kayla (King) is getting passed off to her Dad, Jay (Sarsgaard) so that he can take her to ballet camp. We learn that he and Kayla’s mom, Rebecca (Enos) are divorced, so there’ll be a little drama going on there. On the drive to camp, Kayla sees her friend Britney waiting for the bus, and shouts for her dad to pull over. Turns out, she’s heading to the same ballet camp, so they pick her up for a ride.

Britney is weird as hell, and she starts hitting on Poppa Sarsgaard – ew. Then she starts saying that she’s peeing her pants and begs for him to pull over. Instead of taking an innocent whiz together, Kayla ends up pushing Britney off a bridge. Surprise! I kind of expected there to be a mystery here, since we don’t see the murder actually happen, but Kayla immediately tells Jay that Britney was “being a bitch” so she pushed her. There is virtually no build up to the event, either. It just hops directly into the melodrama, and Pops and Kayla start hyperventilating before driving away.

Jay heads to the Rebecca’s office and tries telling her about what happened, but she’s mostly just mad that Kayla’s not at the ballet retreat. She yells, “she’s nothing but a spoiled little brat, because you let her get away with everything!” Pretty on the nose, seeing as how he’s totally going to let his kid get away with killing a kid. Eventually, Rebecca gets looped into what happened and the two vow to cover for Kayla.

Of course, Kayla also reveals that it wasn’t really an accident – she pushed her on PURPOSE! Dun dun dun! Even after Kayla admits to them that she purposely killed a girl, they don’t really get mad at her. They immediately start making plans to try and cover it up. Which, yeah, I get that parents would want to protect their kid, but uhhhh…I feel like I’d at least ground my daughter if she pushed someone off a bridge. That’s just me, though!

Ultimately, Kayla’s motivations for murder is basically just that her friend is too pretty. She tells her dad through tears that the kids at school don’t like her and Britney gets more attention from the fellas, and that’s enough reason to kill a bitch, I guess. It’s an extremely underwhelming reveal. Kayla’s entire character is a mess, but they explain it as just, “there’s something wrong with her.” There a lot of weird interactions throughout, like the police officer telling Rebecca that Britney is hot. It’s just really bizarrely written overall.

There really aren’t many thrills to be had here. It’s just a whole lot of Joey King screaming, Mom crying, and Poppa Sarsgaard yelling, “KAYLA! KAYLAAAAA!” The family are really bad liars, so you know this isn’t going to work out for them. Britney’s dad suspects that Kayla did something, so he ends up stalking Kayla for a little bit, but I mean…it’s not very exciting, it’s just him silhouetted in a doorframe while some synth music plays. There is a pretty wild twist at the end, but, I mean…it’s not really good enough to warrant sitting through a whole 90 minutes of this garbage.

The acting is…not great, and no one really seems to have much chemistry. It’s always weird to see Peter Sarsgaard playing a normal guy, because I’m used to him playing total scumbags – the hate crime guy in Boys Don’t Cry, the dude who dates a sixteen-year-old in An Education, or the pothead who steals jewelry from dead people in Garden State. He’s a decent actor, and I’m sure he’s a decent dude, but he just exudes sleaze. In my mind, he wouldn’t be a supportive dad helping his daughter not go to jail for killing a girl, HE would be killing a girl, you know what I mean? His character has this weird slick-backed hair and always leaves his shirt unbuttoned, and he also has a neck tattoo? It’s just really weird, and he feels very miscast.

The most baffling thing about this movie is that it’s…not a horror. Like, at all. Its place in this anthology is very bizarre. It feels like this was just sitting on Blumhouse’s shelf for a while and they didn’t know what to do with it, so they just quietly snuck it into this release. In fact, the movie was made in 2018 and was only just now released to the general public, so…maybe it really was just chilling in their vault for a bit.

Overall, this was pretty boring and it didn’t have enough melodramatic cringe for my tastes – though there were a few particularly corny moments that gave me a chuckle. I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece out of this, of course, but I was at least expecting a bit more spice! I think in the future, I’ll just stick to horny B-movies and actual Lifetime flicks. Blah.

Follow Jenn Coulter on Twitter and check out her blog about all things anime!

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