A soap star of some standing lets her psycho flag fly as a murderously obsessive fashion photographer in “Fatal Fashion,” which was orphaned and homeless as “Deadly Runway” before Netflix took it in.
It’s a chance for Linsey Godfrey (“The Young and the Restless,” “The Bold and the Beautiful,” “Days of Our Lives”) to lose the “neck-up acting” and um, subtlety of daytime drama for a little over-the-top nut-with-a-knife/pistol-packing mama/shove-a-model-over-a-railing mayhem.
Gosh, if only it was that much fun.
Godfrey plays Jennifer Higgens, introduced in a wordless opening as a top New York fashion photographer whose lip-biting and salivating over her latest toy-boy “creation” ends wither her waving a knife at him and his paramour — in the middle of a photo shoot.
How DO you bounce back from that? Well, the California Public School System just might have a job for you! Jennifer winds up running the new “Fashion and Photography” class at Palm Vista High.
And in a flash, she’s “creating” her next obsession. David Doolittle (TV actor Joshua Hoffman) is the bespectacled nerd the bullies pick on. Until he signs up for Jennifer’s class, where she teaches runway walking and photography, with the kids thrift-shopping and reworking clothes for their runway moments.
Except for Caitlyn (Ellen Michelle Monohan). She’s happy doing the clothes, which mean girl clothes-horse Brittany (Heather Hopkins) will throw tantrums over.
David just wants to be a photographer, but Jennifer picks’em for their low self-esteem.
We see variations on this routine — a makeover montage, Jennifer cooing “The camera LOVES you.” And then, something happens.
Maybe it’s the prettiest mean girl in school taking an interest in you. Maybe it’s a modeling manager (Maria Pallas) interested in poaching talent.
“I am NOT obsessed with him!”
That’s a sure sign somebody’s about to get cut. Or shot. Or pushed. Or…
Director Doug Campbell (“The Surrogate,” “Stalked by My Doctor”) tries to tease out Jennifer’s game, running through the basic cable level titillation — she undresses and “lights” her subjects — like an old pro.
Even as we see Jennifer exert some positive influence on wallflowers’ lives, we don’t have to ponder “What are teacher’s motives?” because we didn’t forget the nut-with-a-knife prologue. That prologue also strips away the mystery and seriously dings any chance “Fatal Fashion” has at suspense.
There’s always a little pleasure in seeing a killer plan or improvise her way into covering her tracks, but we only get a tiny dose of that.
When, we wonder, will some parent, model-kid, school administrator or COP get curious enough to do a little Internet search on Teacher Jennifer?
The players aren’t the most charismatic lot, but look at who they’re playing.
Only Godfrey has any fun at all, and even that’s fairly drab, even by TV movie standards.
“I know I can be a little dramatic sometime.”
MPAA Rating: TV-14
Cast:Linsey Godfrey, Joshua Hoffman, T.J. Hoban, Heather Hopkins, Ellen Michelle Monohan
Credits: Directed by Doug Campell, script by David Chester. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:28