Friday, July 26, 2019

The Chronicle Mysteries Trilogy Review

The Chronicle Mysteries Trilogy Review (Special Review)

Warning: The following review may/will contain spoilers for The Chronicle Mysteries trilogy. If you wish to stay clear of what happens in each of the movie's stories, please exit the tab, and join me once you've watched them. Or, you know, you can take that warning with a grain of salt, and still read on anyway. Whatever floats your boat.

Anyways, with that said, thank you, and onto the review:

All right. I know what you're all thinking at this point.

"What the hell, Dazz? You've been quiet for almost a whole year and when you do post something new, you post a review for a set of Hallmark movies? What are you even doing?"

It's not like I haven't stopped watching anime. Aside from rewatching Haikyuu and falling in love with it all over again, I've squeezed in Shakugan no Shana's first season and have also seen the second. Plus, there's another follow-up season I watched from December to June and a lot of series I need to cover for a catch-up post this blog has lacked for the last nearly ten months. This is amidst a variety of other things I've done over and have planned for the summer. There have also been Hallmark movies. Plenty of Hallmark movies.

You probably wouldn't consider me the ideal person to get into Hallmark movies, but I was a fan of Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen mystery series for a time. When I first heard about the adaptation of Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, the first book in the series and one I haven't read to this day, being made into a Hallmark movie, I found myself semi-curious about it but didn't make watching it a priority until I stumbled upon the DVD at one of the libraries near my college's campus.

Surprisingly enough, I actually found myself enjoying it. Yeah, it was WAY too campy, some of the acting was pretty terrible, and it had that made-for-TV movie feel, but it was a solid adaptation and made me appreciate what I remembered and liked of Fluke's titular character and her world when I started reading that series at twelve and didn't get annoyed with when 2015 rolled around. Since this movie wasn't a total train-wreck, I decided to watch another movie in the series before deciding to watch others.

I think I'm addicted now. There have been a couple movies out of what I've seen that were mediocre, but the rest have been pretty solid to OH MY GOD I'M LIVING FOR THIS ANGST. They're just the right amount of cheese and squeaky clean I sometimes need in my life. From love stories to mysteries with love stories (don't forget a Christmas movie with Emily Osment in it), snarky commentary abounds, and I am invested in what will happen next. Even if it's incredibly predictable.

So we've got reverse harems:

Underappreciated bishie men:

The entire Karneval franchise:

OG Top Model of the late 2000's and early 2010's:

And finally, good ol' Hallmark movies of the mid 2010's and beyond:

Wow. Talk about a variety of guilty pleasures.

So why watch this movie series? Well, Alison Sweeney was set to play the main character, and since she played Swensen in the Hannah Swensen movies, I felt it was a perfect fit. True crime has always been something I've liked to here about in small doses, and considering Hallmark's chaste AF, there was no way anything crime-wise would get too intense. Add in the fact my college's TV service has the Movies and Mysteries channel, and I was pretty much set. I told myself, "You're just going to check this out to see where it goes, and then you'll do something more productive for a Sunday night," as I went to a concert the previous night before the first movie aired and wasn't in the mood to stay up a little late since I had stayed up past when I typically go the bed thanks to Exhibit A.

Of course, that was complete and utter bulls**t, because here we are. The trilogy has aired, and I watched all three of them. The best part: I actually kind of dug them.

Yeah, yeah. They're not cinematic masterpieces, but for made-for-TV mystery movies, they got their job done. Each made me want to keep watching, not all of the acting was complete trash, the writing was pretty good, and despite some of the subplot elements in each flying over my head because I'm still in college and don't know a lot about certain things, it was fun to figure out whodunit and where the stories would go next.

Since this review isn't standard for me, I'm going to be formatting it differently. Each of the movies will be talked about individually in detail before I jump back to the collective whole and give the trilogy a score. To prepare for this review, I re-watched all the movies and took notes on plot progression, characters, direction and writing, acting and sound, and any costuming I liked. Dazz isn't playing any games today. Everything was tracked to the best of my ability.

Because how did Sweeney talk about it in a behind the scenes video? Oh, yeah. Watching the movie as the characters piece the puzzle together makes it feel like you're doing it, too. Wow. How revolutionary.

First up to bat is the story that starts it all:


Alex McPherson returns to the fake town of Harrington, Pennsylvania after twenty years away from it. She is there to investigate the nearly two decade disappearance of Gina DeSavio, a childhood friend of hers when she visited the town during the summers as she was growing up. Feeling guilty she wasn't able to help out when DeSavio went missing, McPherson believes she can help out now, especially with her new podcast, Recovered. She decided to take on this project after she left her job to travel with her mother, who eventually died a few months prior to the start of the movies. Her first case was Amy Montoya, who was able to be relocated. But what about Gina? Did she die that fateful night nearly two decades ago, or is there a chance she's still alive?

Arriving at the Harrington Chronicle, a local newspaper, Alex meets some of the staff but mainly works with Drew Godfrey, one of the paper's top employees and the man in charge when their boss, Miles Lewiston, isn't able to come into work, to crack the case. Things get dicey when McPherson interviews Courtney Jeffers, a lawyer and tax accountant who was one of the key witnesses of the case, who turns up dead the following night. While the evidence points to an accidental house fire, Alex and a local firefighter think there was more to it. As outside information comes pouring in, pointing the gang in a variety of directions, it turns out two questions have to be answered. What made Gina leave the Harrington Country Club (where she worked) in a hurry the night she vanished without a trace? Did Jeffers die due to greed over her business decisions, or did she die because of an ex-partner being jealous of a new relationship?

If there is a story element I like in all of these movies, it's the clear defining of multiple suspects. The writers (primarily Melissa Salmons, as she wrote the scripts for the first two movies and co-wrote the third move with Kraig Wenman) do a good job at constructing probable reasons for motives and don't make anything too obvious for viewers to guess right away. The cases are more complicated than they look, and in here, we're not just dealing with a disappearance. We've got a murder on our hands as well.

From a mystery standpoint, this started off pretty slow, and it's only after the first twenty minutes when the pace starts picking up. Killing off Courtney's character was a great choice for the story because she remembers something vital that happened the night Gina vanished without a trace during her interview with Alex. After this, she quickly shoos the latter out the door, and this event doesn't come back up again until McPherson and Drew actually locate Gina (because guess what, she's alive) on a horse farm out of state, where she can finally tell her story. It's something I kept in the back of my mind as other information kept coming in because it was the central question to the case.

The information our heroes find out along the way is juicy. I won't be going into the extent of it here, but people weren't as squeaky clean as we thought they were, and this information might have gotten them killed. With how much info there was with the suspects, it was easy to get distracted from what was going on in the main case because of that over-stimulus. Due to that, and another aspect I will discuss in a couple of paragraphs down the line, this was my least favorite out of the three films, despite my liking it a fair bit.

Salmons was also able to construct good main characters to follow as the search continues. They may not have been fully developed, but I was able to get a sense of their personalities throughout each case; their introductions here were pretty solid as a result. Alex is a solid lead character with ample motivation to solve the cases she works on, even if she gets herself into trouble. Drew may be a bit of a twit to Alex at the start of this movie (then again, most male Hallmark love interests seem to be this way), but he eventually learns to care and respect her. His side investigations in the next two movies are semi-interesting, and we get to see him in his element since he helps lead the Harrington Chronicle when Miles is gone.

My personal favorite was Chuck Matthews, though. Despite being a comic relief character, he has a few moments where he gets to shine. It's a joy to see. Whether it's from a funny line or staking out two suspects in a car surrounded by all the snack cakes in the world, the crew can always trust him for help, and I like that. I also liked Eileen Bruce, the paper's gossip columnist, and Drew's daughter, Kendall, for insight and also lending a hand in elements of the cases. It was a shame to see them gone for the second movie.

I was a little disappointed in the culprit reveal. Bradley Williford was the logical choice, but compared to other mysteries, the characters didn't interact with him enough for me to really consider him a culprit. Alex and Drew only talk to him once on screen before he's revealed to be guilty. I highkey forgot he was even a suspect more than halfway in. Sometimes writers of mysteries do this so you can focus on other suspects that seem more plausible, but it occasionally backfires because while you get surprised (which was the intention), there's also the feeling of being let down. I get why Williford was the culprit, but Melissa Salmons missed an opportunity to zero in on what made him guilty outside of his relationship with his father. I still didn't put the pieces together on a re-watch outside of realizing who the man who stepped on the wine glass was in Courtney and Gina's flashback sequences.

There was also a surprise culprit, who ended up being Detective Chris Patterson, working alongside Bradley. While I typically love this type of twist, I felt more foreshadowing would have been more effective to allude to it. As I mentioned with Williford, the same exact thing happened. It made sense, but I was also let down because we didn't get enough content to make me convinced he was involved outside of not wanting to officially declare how Jeffers died and not wanting to be interviewed for Alex's podcast. Thankfully, the next two movies have more evidence to consider why the writers chose the culprits they did, because I was left a little cold by this.

For this movie, direction was handled by Jason Bourque. There were quite a few great shots in this movie, such as the slight focus on one of the suspects, Trey Hines, in two scenes, foreshadowing at multiple points, and framing on Alex and Drew with a lot of shadow after they confronted Hines about threatening the former to stop poking her nose around Courtney's untimely death. I also loved that the film crew rented out a Sky Zone that was under construction in Canada to film the final confrontation scene. It made for some fun moments because this has been something I've always felt like I wanted, and Hallmark, of all things, makes it into being? words.

The only issue set-wise was the lighting in the building used for the Harrington Chronicle. Depending on where you watch it, the actors get a bit washed out because the lighting at the time or how it was edited looks a bit over-saturated. In the next two movies, this changes due to different directors, so the scenes look better, but I figured that should be something I pointed out.

Acting-wise, I got what I expected. There was some good (Benjamin Ayres, Dave Collette, Rebecca Staab, Michael Kopsa (who was in the dub for Death Note), and Lisa Durupt (who is probably my favorite actor from Hallmark)) and some bad (Matt Bellefleur sticks out like a sore thumb). Choices were made (Alison Sweeney's shocked gasps after she triggers a trap also stick out, which you can see here if you're curious), reaction shots were iconic, and there was slang that made me laugh. It was pretty standard for someone who has seen many Hallmark movies at this point.

So all in all, this movie was a nice start for the series. Though I wish the mystery progressed faster and the culprits had more content to back up why they were evil, I was still curious to see what would happen, and there were a few reveals that had me clutching my figurative pearls. In my book, that would grant this movie a 7.5/10.

The Wrong Man

After a month, Mike Thurman approaches Alex McPherson to talk to her about the mysterious circumstances surrounding his wife's death, whose body was just found. Tara Thurman went missing three years prior, and her husband was charged with her murder after the police found her car abandoned in a junkyard a year following. He may have been acquitted, but in the public eye, he is still a criminal. Wanting to clear his name, Thurman asks McPherson to make this case the next subject of her podcast due to the success of her prior season. While Alex can't promise outright she'll be able to find answers, she decides to take it on.

Of course, everything isn't cut and dry. Tara's fraternal twin brother, Tim, believes Mike is guilty and has plenty of credible evidence to prove it. Marriage troubles abounded, especially with rumors of Mike having an affair, which Tara was not happy about. And as Drew investigates a shipping company that's starting to expand their business, he notices someone out of place walking free among the employees: Frank Cipirani, someone he interviewed from the Philadelphia mob years prior. Can they be connected to Tara's death, or is something else at hand here?

The Wrong Man starts off in the best possible way with a random hiker stumbling onto Tara's dead body off a trail. From there, the plot proceeds; we return to the Harrington Chronicle, where Alex and Drew go over what happened when Mike was charged and eventually found not guilty. Compared to Recovered, I got sucked right in. It was a lot of fun to see where the pieces of the case led the paper, but the one I zeroed in on the most happened to be the victim's personality. Was Tara the nice woman her twin brother claims she was? Or was a more sinister side seeping under the surface, especially with her husband's supposed affair?

Drew's case made me a little lost because, again, I'm not an adult yet (shipping business and illegal sunflower oil being made? I'm sorry, don't know them well enough), but this case was also easier to follow. There was still plenty of information to keep viewers guessing, but it didn't feel like there was as much as the previous case. Alex's motivation was pretty understandable due to the bad blood between Mike and Tim. Tim is convinced that he is in the right about his dead sister's killer due to the evidence he has taped around his kitchen, which includes newspaper clippings, photographs he took of Mike (he points out one in particular where he is putting a $15,000 TV into his trunk, something he couldn't have bought unless...), and text messages. Post-its lay out the important information. It's a chaotic set, but the creepiness of it all comes across well.

The Wrong Man is also where Salmons tries to lay down a potential love triangle. Sean Mullin, a local firefighter, was introduced in the first movie and served as a source of some information in regards to the DeSavio case. I noticed the slight sparks flying between him and Alex, though, so it felt right that he'd come back and create more awkward interactions. Here, Sean helps provide some background information on Tim Reynolds since the former trained him as an EMT, and he even comes to Reynolds' house where his elaborate proof for Mike Thurman's guilt is revealed. Since he's not on the key visuals, however, he isn't going to be endgame, because while Alex and Drew don't have a lot of romantic chemistry, they work well together, and I can see something building between the two if Salmons wants to dive into that.

There's also the fact that Sean only shows up once in Vines That Bind, where Drew asks Chuck if he and Alex are dating before disappearing, and someone at Hallmark has to be aware that the actor who plays Sean (Toby Levins) was also in the Murder, She Baked franchise, where he played Bill Todd, Andrea Swensen's husband, who happens to be Hannah's sister. I think you can see why that would be awkward.

I also was pleasantly surprised by the culprit this time around. Betsy Grey, the woman Thurman accused her husband of having an affair with (and she was correct), was the one found guilty. The two met because Betsy worked at the same company Mike did. Salmons does a great job at trying to lead you into thinking Mike was the one responsible, and near the end, both lead characters think he was the killer. However, when Betsy arrives at the Chronicle office to tell Alex about information she previously withheld (the affair), the signs are there in her body language. Her motivation isn't the most original (she was jealous of Mike's relationship with his wife and thought Tara didn't appreciate him enough). Her tactics, though, were sneaky. In the months after she killed Tara, Betsy got her phone number and sent threatening text messages posing as the woman in order to bring her closer to Mike. Once Mike got arrested in connection with the murder, she was dumped, which pissed her off. May I also mention she switched clothes with Tara and hid all the evidence against her? 

Terry Ingram was the director for this movie. An easy to notice difference is the lighting in the Harrington Chronicle set. The lights have now been toned down, and it compliments the actors better. In terms of props, the evidence board that seems to be a staple of detective dramas (or at least some of the Hallmark mysteries I've seen) is now a glass board rather than a dry erase/white board. I honestly thought it was plastic until it's used to distract Betsy. Then it broke and I thought, "Okay, guess I was wrong." There aren't as many good shots in this movie as in the last one, and the editors in post picked an odd segment where Alex and Drew are blocked by something when Alex goes over a follow-up meeting with one of the suspects (though I would consider her a low-tier one). There were also a few shots when Betsy revealed herself as the culprit where you can see daylight through the window behind Alex's head, and the writing suggests it's day as well, but the other shots in the ten minutes before the last commercial break and this unveiling cover point toward the opposite. Ingram has directed other Hallmark movies I've seen, and while this isn't terrible, the editing team could have made a few tweaks in order to make it look better. As it is now, it's the weakest out of the three, but not terrible.

My favorite part of the movie is the on screen combat between Sweeney and Kaylah Zander, who plays Betsy Grey (or should I say the stunt doubles). When Alex runs into the newspaper's paper room in order to escape Grey and find a way to defend herself, the two engage in a quick fight that's all kinds of amazing. I got into Mortal Kombat at the start of second semester, and that's exactly what the fight looked like without the blood. Tackling, throwing people into things, hitting heads, elbowing someone in the gut. It was very point and click, and the grunt sounds were so obviously mixed in that it gets a good laugh out of me whenever I think back on it.

More fun tidbits come from some of the actors in this movie. The "new blood" to this franchise played their parts well and worked with their characters enough to make them compelling. Jesse Moss, who plays Mike Reynolds, was in Trollz in the mid aughts. Marco Soriano, who plays Frank Cipriani, was in the English dub of Beyblade Burst. And finally, Brittney Wilson, who plays Charlene Franklin, was in a few seasons of Johnny Test. There weren't really any complaints outside of me noticing Sweeney's podcast delivery was too dramatic and Benjamin Ayres holding binoculars in a way I wouldn't. This was actually pretty good for a Hallmark movie. Normally we get a few duds and some choices made, but not with this one. 

To wrap things up, this mystery moved at a better pace, and the culprit had enough to back up their motivation. I still did get a little lost, and the editing could have been stronger, but the overall package was still investing, and I loved seeing where the case ended up going. I give this movie an 8/10.

Vines That Bind

Since we don't know exactly how long this movie takes place after the Thurman case, I'm going to assume it's another month because a week in real life equals a month in canon, I guess? IDK

Anyway, Colton Saunier was the founder of Chaberton Estate, a vineyard and winery in Macklin, Pennsylvania. He was found dead a year prior to the start of the movie in the vat room from carbon monoxide poisoning. While his death was ruled an accident at the time, Alex McPherson wants to know if it could have possibly been murder. She meets up with Eileen Bruce (who was absent from the previous movie) who knows the family due to touring the vineyards on the East Coast fairly frequently, who feels like something's off with Jackson's second wife, Mary. Tensions are also high between Jackson and his older brother, Gil, who now both co-own the business, but it allegedly was supposed to go to the latter when he shows McPherson a secret will. Of course, hours after this happens, he is found dead. Oops.

As other suspects begin to pile up and the case goes in a variety of directions, the Harrington Chronicle begin to realize someone from the Sauniers doesn't want the paper muddling in their business. Did Jackson kill his father and his brother out of revenge? Did Jackson's adopted daughter, Caitlin, want her own share of the company? Will Drew Godfrey's investigation into Macklin's growth fit into the main case? Also, can someone please stop watching over the good guys, thank you very much?

Surprise, surprise: This was my favorite out of the three. Clearly, Hallmark saved the best one for last, right?

Yeah, yeah, I know. That joke was predictable.

Part of why that is has to do with the writing. Melissa Salmons actually had a co-writer for this movie, who also developed the story with her. She and Kraig Wenman wrote the script for this, and the humor comes through the screen about five minutes into the main plot. Wenman also co-wrote the fourth Murder, She Baked movie, and after seeing other movies his co-writer, Teena Booth, wrote on her own, I think I have Wenman to thank for his comedic influence. Salmons and Wenman's humor blend pretty well, and there were more moments where I laughed out loud compared to the first two movies. I'll be waiting to see what Hallmark movies Wenman will write for next. I'm really enjoying what he's done so far.

The two also don't shy away from making this mystery the most interesting. Both Alex and Drew's work is introduced fairly quickly, and both cases end up tying together fairly well as the movie goes on (Alex is looking at Colton's murder; Drew is looking at Macklin's growth, where the winery is located). Eileen Bruce gives Alex "the skinny" about the Saunier family because she knows them from a wine tour she goes on every year and how Jackson, the second son, shook up family dynamics when he married Mary, a woman Colton and Gil find fishy and only after the Saunier family's money. Caitlin Saunier, Jackson's adopted daughter from his first marriage, briefly brings up the farm next door, owned by Dana Kelleher, as the source of a bad smell Eileen catches wind of during the vineyard tour. There is foreshadowing towards ammonia being set off in the vat room, and Gil and Jackson's tension. Gil shows Alex a will Colton dated to be filed, which just so happens to be the day Colton died. After getting uneasy vibes from the family and meeting up with Drew and Chuck (who is tagging along for Drew's investigation), Gil gets killed right before the movie breaks for its first commercial. The stage is set, and Salmons and Wenman have set their cards right. I got sucked right into this movie and didn't want to do anything else.

Chuck was a particular highlight of this movie. He's had amazing lines throughout each movie, but he volunteers to stake out Andy Woods' house here, who is one of the prime suspects because he used to work at the Saunier winery and was fired after being accused of forging checks. The entire time, he has his binoculars up, phone at the ready, and snack cakes to eat so he doesn't get hungry. It's quite beautiful to go from serious investigation to Chuck having eaten all his snack cakes and seeing drama play out in front of him while slight comedic music plays in the background. It could fit a standard sidekick narrative, but at least it gives something Dave Collette can do on screen with his character in regards to a mystery. Besides, he gets good information that has an impact on the movie's plot.

I managed to call the culprit about halfway through the movie this time. Not because the writers made it too obvious, but because I felt their motive was strong enough, and they seemed antsy about being on the podcast when Alex offered (much like the detective in the first movie). Victor Lustig, a long time Saunier family friend (and their lawyer) was behind more than just killing Colton and Gil. He's the actual owner of the Benton Holdings real estate company Drew was investigating and was paying Dana Kelleher to pollute the Saunier's land with leachate so the value of it would decrease. He also cheated Colton out of shares by having him open a private bank account to the point where if (and that if became certain) Jackson was at a loss for what to do with the winery, he would sell the property to Lustig. Salmons and Wenman do a great job at making you look toward other suspects and giving convincing reasons as to why they could have committed the crimes. Heck, Betsy and Victor aren't really considered suspects until near or during their reveals.

Along with one shocking reveal of Victor being related to a woman related to the founding family of Macklin, all of this comes to a head in an amazing confrontation scene that may be shorter than the others but will still leave you wondering how the heroes will escape. The answer is in the most humorous way possible. It's a gem.

It was David Weaver's turn behind the camera with Vines That Bind, and I think he did an excellent job for made-for-TV movie standards. The lighting in the Harrington Chronicle set is at its most cinematic, the chalk board to map evidence on worked perfectly for the remote location, and the dreary atmosphere around the vineyard and the suspect Andy Woods' house was captured beautifully. It's fun to look at the preview clips and trailers for this film/film series and compare it to the actual movie, because stuff was unsaturated. My favorite shots in particular happened when all of the main suspects were highlighted once Gil was murdered and two separate phone calls between Eileen and Mary happening at the same time. The first sequence had amazing tone, and it was great to see so many possibilities set in stone, while the other juxtaposed two different outcomes through how both actors were framed and their body language. Sometimes the little things settle in the back of your mind, and it makes viewing mass media all the worthwhile.

I do wish one conversation between Alex and Drew didn't have scenery as the two were talking and rather focused on them, but that, again, lies in editing. I feel like there were good shots of the two talking, but maybe the editors didn't think they worked enough. We'll never know.

There were also some sound Easter eggs I caught. There's one scene where Alex is taking a shortcut through the vat room in order to meet up with Drew who is just getting back to the Saunier's property to tell his fellow employees about the injunction placed on the entire crew. While she's in there, someone sets off ammonia and locks the doors so Alex can't escape. Since Drew was able to have a look around the property thanks to Caitlin, he is able to hear the alarms go off and also gets a frantic text from Alex stating she needs help.

That alarm? The editors used the exact same sound effect the Qualidea Code sound effect team used whenever the Unknown were spotted. I shrieked internally when I first heard this because despite how that series wasn't perfect and the broadcast animation was terrible, the OST still holds a deep place in my heart. Looks like the sound effect cues did, too.

Before the last commercial break, Alex is recording her podcast in the bed & breakfast inn the Harrington Chronicle staff is staying in. While she's working, she hears noise coming from outside. She takes off her headphones and looks behind her, but she just sees wind rattling tree branches and hitting the window. Little does she know that once she turns her back, feet in black shoes walk past the window as a dramatic sound effect plays.

That dramatic sound effect is recognizable to many YouTube users. For those of you who follow CinemaSins or another channel that emulates its style (CinemareSins, AniSins, there's probably a Sins channel for anything these days), it's the sound effect that's used at the beginning and end of a video when the text displays. I'm pretty sure it's a sound effect you can find on iMovie or another editing system, but it's still pretty cool to see it sneak into a movie that's airing on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel. While this scene is in the preview special, the Vines that Bind clips are the only ones that aren't finalized, so I won't be linking anything this time.

We also manage to get another good crop of actors. My favorite was Pippa Mackie, who played Caitlin. I really liked her emotional range, and she played the character's earnest and secretive sides pretty well. She was in another Hallmark mystery movie a few months afterwards, and while her character wasn't as open, she was able to adapt to the role and had some great sassy one-liners in the beginning of the film. Rochelle Greenwood tapped into depths that I think other actors wouldn't ("GO FIND THOSE HUNTERS!" still sits in the back of my mind), Primo Allon flips the switch from even-tempered to kind of douchey in a great way as Ryan, the horticulturist who becomes a prime suspect when it's discovered he was arrested the night of Colton's murder for trespassing onto the Saunier's property, and Roman Podhora made a convincing Gil even though he was onscreen for twenty minutes. Soap opera fans may recognize Linda Dano, who is back on screen after years away from it, and those who've watched the Black Lagoon OVAs may recognize the man who plays the sheriff here, Dean Redman. Outside of a couple minor nitpicks, this was pretty great acting-wise, and that made me interested to see where the movie would go.

Overall, this movie was perfect for what it was trying to do. There was a stellar mystery with reasonable suspects, a couple shocking reveals, along with some stellar family tension. Even though it's the third in the series, and other viewers might benefit from the context of the first two in regards to the soft love triangle and the main characters involved in cracking the cases, this is the movie I would recommend to friends who like mysteries, even if they aren't into Hallmark. It's written extremely well and kept me intrigued. I'd give it a 9/10.

That's it. We're at the end, folks. The scores average out to a 8.2 or 8/10 for this series so far. I say so far because this review has been months in the making, and at the time I'm writing this, we're a month away from getting a brand new one.

Yup. That's right. The Deep End is almost here, and I'm SO excited. I'm ready to see where this franchise will go next because the movies have been good so far and this one looks good. Chuck won't be there (most likely because Dave Collette wasn't available), but we're getting Tegan Moss of My Scene fame, and that's enough for me. Your regular anime programming will be back shortly, but just expect a review of this bad boy to come up as well.

See you guys soon. This is Dazz signing out.