film reel image

film reel image

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Nightmare School Moms 2023 * * * Stars


There's only one mom who's a nightmare in 2023's Nightmare School Moms. This is bible folks. I mean don't get swayed by the title. The mom in question is Lacy Settle (played by Crystal Allen) and boy is she a piece of work. Heck, Allen runs with this role like Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire or Tom Cruise in well, everything. "This isn't over". You're darn right it isn't.

Clocking in at 86 minutes and shot in the throes of suburbanite purgatory, Nightmare School Moms feels as though it starts in the middle, all creepily enhanced by an opening scene in which a dying man (on oxygen) tries to blow out his birthday candles. Now does said man go on living in the end? Get real people. Not with creep-o mommy Settle looking for the favorable one up. I thought you knew better my alert viewer.

With sparse set locations and more coincidinks than in The O. C., Nightmare School Moms knows it's camp, it really does. It also knows it's a product of the Lifetime Movie Network and no one channels overly dramatic and overly theatrical (with special care) quite like Lifetime. Yup, that's 29 years of tweaking and devious refining.

Broadcasting distance running aside, as something about an underachieving mother who commits murder and forgery all the while trying to get her daughter into some swanky college fellowship, Nightmare School Moms rides on Allen's disciplined performance as kooky, woman-child Lacy Settle. It's in the walk, the desperate mannerisms, the caked, makeup look, the demented wheel-churning-s in the head. Crystal Allen is the anchor and she's in almost every frame. Without her, "Nightmare" would still suffice but have a so-so heartbeat and just be borderline, run-of-the-mill stuff. She is the cinematic, piece de resistance, a sort of perfect casting to inflate "Nightmare's" nearly fanciful plot. "Mother of vinegar".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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