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film reel image

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Designed for Death 2021 * * 1/2 Stars


Designed for Death (my latest review) refers to an interior designer who hears voices in her head and hallucinates. She designs a handsome dude's house and then decides she wants to become the ultimate homewrecker (no pun intended). Said designer's name is Ava and she is played with discipline by 28-year-old Kelcie Stranahan. Stranahan is quite pretty and can act but "Death's" script causes her to go way too far over the top. Kelcie's Ava, Mrs. Mott, and Joan Crawford could have become real-life besties (ugh). 

Best buds begot, Designed for Death is a Lifetime thriller that has a real hard-on for style, dazed imagery, and voyeurism. It's as if the director wanted you to forget that the flick was Lifetime fare and more a cinematic acid trip. Everything from the opening credits sequence to the heightened flashbacks to the fast-cut editing shows that an inner Oliver Stone was channeled. I was wondering, did the two opposite list filmmakers hang out at a screening for U Turn?  

So yeah, I could've recommended "Death" but a few things kept gnawing at me. I mean there's actors featured here with bad actor voices, annoying next door neighbor characters that might be a little cray cray themselves, an ending that feels a little misguided, and an obsession with the antagonist (and the protagonist) hitting everybody over the head with some sort of mass. Oh and there's also enough long shots of sunny LA to make your eyes roll. I'm curious if the helmer was just using these shots as filler. Maybe. Possibly.

Bottom line: Designed for Death is not "designed" to be taken seriously (when it thinks it is). It's also out of the box film-making that you don't normally get with everyday Lifetime swipe. Oh whatever, I'll just call the whole thing a wash. "Designed" by committee (yup, I'm the committee).  

Written by Jesse Burleson

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