3 StarsPolice detective Karyn Mitchell (Sarah Jane Morris) is good at catching serial killers, or rather she’s good at killing them. She’s had run-ins with three, and was responsible for their deaths – all in self-defense of course. Her work appointed therapist (Michael Riley) finds it interesting that according to the three kill rule for serial killers, Karyn herself now qualifies as one. Along with her scruffy partner Gavin McNaab (Ross McCall) she must find a copycat of the infamous Hades Killer. A serial killer Karyn has a special relationship with, the original was her father. But who is this new copycat murderer? Could it be Karyn’s new boyfriend Mark Hanson (Dylan Bruce)? What about her therapist? How about Karyn herself? You’ll have to watch Lifetime’s Willed to Kill to the end to find out.
There are a lot of clichés at work in Willed to Kill, but they are used effectively. A technologically advanced killer who knows how to reroute his cell signal to cover his tracks. The whole ‘keep em on the line for a few minutes in order to trace the call’ routine. It’s all here. Having to keep the Hades Killer on the line allows for some interesting moments between Karyn and the serial killer. This is something everyone knows is fake nowadays, watching a progress bar move across a computer screen as they ‘track’ the call. Regardless it’s an established staple of the thriller genre.
Sarah Jane Morris is great as the lead. Beautiful yet strong-willed – Karyn will do just about anything to get her man, including break protocol no matter how many times the chief yells at her. Ross McCall seems to be channeling the William Baldwin character from the fictitious TV show Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime out of Forgetting Sarah Marshall. His low and scratchy voice mixed with a demeanor of uncaring is almost pushed to the point of being a joke. He shows up to crime scenes with stripper glitter on his face, yet this is the character that shows the most growth in the film and someone that I warmed up to almost immediately.
With twists and turns that I don’t want to give away, Willed to Kill is a fun hour and a half if you like police detective thrillers. Lifetime really has perfected the formula on these and I find myself liking more of their thrillers than hating them. A lot of these feel like they could be developed into a series, and with how well shows like Homeland have done I’m surprised Lifetime hasn’t tried to throw its hat into that ring yet.
Director: Philippe Gagnon
Stars: Sarah Jane Morris, Ross McCall, Dylan Bruce, Michael Riley