Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Movie Review: Murder Ever After - Morning Show Mysteries

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: New and old characters; great mystery
Cons: Usual light Hallmark cheese
The Bottom Line:
Basement skeleton
Introduce franchise changes
Film kept me guessing

“Maybe You Are a Secret Weapon.”  “I Think You Mean, ‘Thank You, Billie’”

It’s been a couple of years since we last got an entry in Hallmark’s Morning Show Mysteries franchise, and it’s obvious some changes have been made behind the scenes in that time.  However, I enjoyed our return visit, Murder Ever After.

In the time between the previous movies, Billie Blessing’s world has changed.  She and her aunt Cassandra (Karen Robinson) have shut down their restaurant so that Billie (Holly Robinson Peete) can focus on her morning show.  Her old boyfriend has moved down to Los Angeles to be near his daughter, leaving room for a new head of homicide, Tyrell Price (Colin Lawrence).  There’s even a new reporter on Billie’s morning show, Carlos (Jayce Barreiro).

However, it’s her friend Maggie (Francesca Bianchi) who gets Billie involved in a new mystery.  Maggie has come back for a visit because her father called her upset about something.  Only when she gets home, she finds him collapsed on the floor.  Billie is quick to go help her, and that’s how the women discover the skeleton in the basement.  Suspicions quickly mount that the body is Maggie’s step-mother who disappeared seven years ago.  But if that is who is in the basement, what happened to her?

I knew from the previews that Rick Fox, who played the previous male lead, wasn’t going to be back for this movie.  I was actually happy with how they wrote him out.  I think if I had watched the earlier movies recently, I would have missed him more as well as the others written out of the franchise.  However, I haven’t watched any of these movies since the last one aired, so I was able to focus on this movie.

And this movie gives us a great mystery.  There were some twists I definitely wasn’t expecting, and I didn’t have the killer pegged either.  They managed to give us a unique twist on the traditional suspenseful ending as well, which I appreciated.

I’m hoping the new supporting characters stick around for a while.  I really liked them and the new dynamic they brought to the film.  Yes, there are sparks between Billie and Tyrell, which isn’t a surprise.  And yes, I’m already rooting for them.  Usually, I’m a bit more loyal to old love interests than that.

All of the changes in the characters’ lives are explained in the film without slowing things down or it feeling like exposition.  The writers did a great job here.

Having said there, there was still a slight dose of Hallmark cheese.  However, it was lighter than normal, and I was quickly caught up in the mystery, trying to guess what was happening before Billie pieced it together.

If you are a fan of the franchise, be ready for changes before you start watching Murder Ever After.  But if you sit down with an open mind, you’ll find yourself caught up in a great mystery and enjoying the new characters.

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