The blandly titled “Dangerous Lies” is a Netflix Original that sounds like a cheap made-for-television thriller. To be honest, at times it feels like one too. It’s actually a competently made cautionary tale that doesn’t come together as nicely or as tidily as it should, but still makes for some breezy, light entertainment.
The film follows a young recently married couple struggling to make ends meet. Kate (Camila Mendes) works night shifts at a diner while Adam (Jessie Usher) tries to finish school. Four months pass and things aren’t much better. Kate now works as an at-home caregiver for a wealthy elderly man named Leonard (Elliott Gould) while a frustrated Adam has quit school to find a job to help pay down their growing debt.
Kate develops a close friendship with Leonard who lives in his big house alone with no family. During a conversation Kate relays her financial woes and Leonard is quick to offer help. She declines money but asks if Leonard would hire Adam to do lawn work since his gardener up an disappeared several months back. The optics certainly aren’t great – a young couple and an vulnerable senior citizen. They get even worse when Kate discovers Leonard dead.
Photo Courtesy of Netflix
All of that sets up the second half which introduces a lurking slimeball named Hayden (Cam Gigandet), a chest full of cash, a possible murder, and a very suspicious police detective (Sasha Alexander). It becomes a series of twists ranging from clever to absurd followed by a series of reveals that are much the same. Director Michael Scott is pretty efficient with the storytelling, keeping things moving at a snappy pace, but not quite fast enough to overlook the gaping holes in logic. But before you can start chipping away at the silliness Scott hurries us along to the next twist or clue, cleverly keeping our attention diverted.
“Dangerous Lies” is one of those easy to make, small budget thrillers that pop up often on Netflix. It’s story of a young couple and a house full of secrets doesn’t sound especially new, but it’s told in a way that keeps things interesting despite juggling too many familiar tropes. And I should mention there are some interesting visual choices as well. It all makes for a movie that is just engaging enough to keep you watching. It still can’t avoid all of the pitfalls that come with movies like this, but it does give a good effort.
VERDICT – 2.5 STARS