Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun mystery movie; good characters
Cons: Plot predictable; usual Hallmark cheese
The Bottom Line:
Missing young woman
Tied to hot, new dating app
Fun, light mystery
“Stay for Dinner.” “I Can’t. I Have to Go on Three Dates.”
There have always been stories about the dangers of meeting strangers, but they really ramped up in the days of the internet and now apps. While there is definitely some truth to needing to be careful, it is easy to see why these stories persist – these feed into our fears of the unknown. It also makes for some great mysteries as we see from Dating is Murder, the third Hailey Dean mystery movie.
No, Hailey Dean (Kellie Martin) isn’t looking for a new boyfriend. While she and Jonas (Matthew MacCaull) are taking things slowly, they are still enjoying their relationship. It’s actually Hailey’s friend and business partner Sabrina (Emily Holmes) who has installed the latest app, Penguin Match. Started by a couple of geeks in one of their mother’s garage, it is taking the city by storm.
However, Hailey’s attention has been captured by a missing young woman. Miranda is the daughter of one of her mother’s friends, and she has been missing for a few days. Hailey begins pushing for answers which unfortunately lead to finding Miranda’s body on a hiking trail. When Jonas makes the connection to another murder of a young woman who had been missing, Hailey thinks there might be a serial killer. But when she makes the connection to Penguin Match, things really get interesting. Is a serial killer using the app for cover?
Okay, given the title of the movie, I don’t feel I’ve really spoiled anything, but it does take the movie a while to make the connection. Not that this is a problem since it is entertaining the entire way. In fact, I was a couple of steps ahead of Hailey for most of the movie, but I didn’t care since I had to know if I was right.
We have a strong group of supporting players in this series, and they are all back. We don’t see as much of Hailey’s family, which would have been nice, but that’s a minor complaint and would have just slowed things down further. Those who are back are lots of fun.
The actors all do a good job here. Oh, there is the usual Hallmark cheese, but that’s the only complaint here. And yes, Nancy Grace, author of the books these films are based on, gets another cameo here.
In the first two movies, we’ve gotten some clues to the unsolved murder of Hailey’s late fiancé. That sub-plot isn’t even brought up in this movie, although the teaser for the next in the series (no air date given yet) looks like it will return to that story, possibly in a big way.
While I do wish the plot were a little better, Dating is Murder is still a fun way to spend an hour and a half. If you are looking for a light mystery movie, this will fit the bill nicely.