Pros: Characters, strong mystery, fun
Cons: Usual Hallmark cheese
The Bottom Line:
Actress in danger
Flirting while looking for clues
Fun mystery film
The Play’s a Deadly Thing
Back in January, I really enjoyed the first movie in the Mystery 101 franchise from Hallmark, so I was thrilled to see it return with Playing Dead.
If you missed this franchise, it features Jill Wagner as Amy Winslow, an English professor who specializes in mystery literature, and Kristoffer Polaha as detective Travis Burke.
As this movie opens, Amy is getting ready for opening night of a play. No, she’s not on stage, but she’s advising since it is a mystery play named Shadow of Death. However, the cast, led by Hollywood actress Bella Brightman (Rekha Sharma) seem to be more concerned with personal dramas happening behind the scenes. It’s opening night when things really get interesting as accidents seem to be happening to Bella. Is someone out to get the leading lady?
Meanwhile, Travis already had his hands full with a series of burglaries in town. Are they related to what is happening at the theater?
This is a very well-done mystery. I wasn’t sure where they were going to how they were going to tie everything together, but once Amy and Travis put the pieces together, it makes perfect sense. Along the way, we got to have plenty of fun as the duo uncover one secret after another. There is a lot going on here, so you need to pay attention, but it is worth it.
Since this is only the second movie, Amy and Travis are still at the flirting stage of their relationship, although it is obvious to everyone that they are interested in each other. While a little of their jabs fell flat, I enjoyed their war of words as they worked the case.
And I enjoyed the supporting cast again. While the emphasis is clearly on the mystery, we got to see plenty of the rest of the characters; they are a fun lot for sure.
This movie does have a bit more of the Hallmark cheese factor than I remembered the first movie having. It definitely came from the writing as well as the acting, hence my earlier comment about some of the witty lines between Travis and Amy falling flat. Still, if you are a fan of Hallmark movies, you’ll certainly enjoy this one.
And enjoy it I did. Playing Dead is another fun mystery movie that will keep you guessing until you reach the end.