Review: ‘Mother, May I Sleep With Danger’

Review by Lauryn Angel

Twenty years ago, Tori Spelling starred in a tv movie titled Mother, May I Sleep With Danger. I haven’t seen this film, but the basic story-line is that Spelling’s character, Laurel, is involved with a young man named Billy (played by Ivan Sergei) who seems too good to be true. And after her mother does some digging around, she discovers that Billy has a secret and is no good for Laurel. Aside from the title and the presence of both Spelling and Sergei in the cast, Lifetime’s 2016 Mother, May I Sleep With Danger has very little to compare with the original.

This new spin on the story centers on Leah (Leila George), a college student whose life seems to be going well. She has a good relationship with her mother, seems to be doing well in her classes, and lands the lead in Macbeth. She even has a great girlfriend, Pearl (Emily Meade), with whom things seem to be getting serious – serious enough to make Leah’s friend Bob (Nick Eversman) jealous and her mother (Tori Spelling) distraught. Leah’s mother is distraught not at the thought of her daughter growing up (although there seems to be some of that), but at the thought of her daughter being a lesbian – and its this bigotry that causes her to leap at the chance to find something wrong with Pearl. And of course there is something wrong. Pearl is a Night Walker – basically a vampire – and she has three “friends” who are pressuring her to turn Leah.

James Franco, who plays the unnamed director of the college’s production of Macbeth, is credited with writing the story (although not the screenplay), and seems intent on putting his English degree to good use. Not only does Macbeth have a strong influence on the storyline, but Leah’s English professor lectures the class about the representations of sexuality in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market.” It’s a surprisingly high-brow twist in what is otherwise a very campy movie.

While director Melanie Aitkenhead treats the subject matter earnestly, it’s very difficult to take the movie seriously – and that’s really the best part. Whether or not this re-vamp will achieve the cult status of the original is difficult to say, but it’s definitely not the worst vampire movie I’ve ever seen. It’s worth seeing at least once – preferably with a group of friends and a gooey pizza or maybe some popcorn to throw at the screen. And if you haven’t seen the original, Lifetime will air it on Friday, June 17 at 7pm CST, in preparation of the premiere of the new version on Saturday, June 18 at 7pm.

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