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What/If

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What/If is an upcoming American thriller anthology web television miniseries, created by Mike Kelley, that explores "the ripple effects of what happens when acceptable people start doing unacceptable things. Each season will tackle a different morality tale inspired by culturally consequential source material, and the power of a single fateful decision to change the trajectory of an entire life."

Cast

  • Renée Zellweger as Anne
  • Jane Levy as Lisa
  • Blake Jenner as Sean
  • Daniella Pineda as Cassidy
  • Louis Herthum as Foster
  • Tyler Ross
  • Derek Smith
  • Nana Ghana as Sophie
  • Monique Kim as Miles
  • Marissa Cuevas as Christine
  • Samantha Ware as Angela
  • Juan Castano as Marcos
  • Keith Powers as Todd
  • Saamer Usmani as Avery
  • Dave Annable as Dr. Ian Harris
  • Gabriel Mann as Gage Scott

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Some casting news for the Netflix drama;

From engadget:

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Netflix recently ordered 10 episodes of a new social thriller anthology entitled What/If with Renee Zellweger in a lead role. Now, the streaming service has announced the names of the actors joining the cast and starring opposite Zellweger, Glee alum Blake Jenner and Castle Rock's Jane Levy. According to Deadline, Dave Annable of the ABC show Brothers & Sisters will play a character called Dr. Ian Harris, while Westworld's Louis Herthum will play Zellweger's driver and right-hand man.

From comingsoon.net;
 

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The Netflix anthology series What/If has added a quartet of new actors including Samantha Ware, Juan Castano, Keith Powers and Saamer Usmani, to its already impressive cast.

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of detail about who the new actors will play, besides their characters’ names. Samantha Ware (Barry, Chicago Med) will play Angela, Juan Castano (The OA, Bull) will play Marcos, Keith Powers (Straight Outta Compton, Before I Fall) will play Todd, and Saamer Usmani (Reign, The Killjoys) will play Avery.

 

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More casting!
 

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Tyler Ross (The Killing), Derek Smith (Grey’s Anatomy), Nana Ghana (White Rabbit), Monique Kim (Looks That Kill) and Marissa Cuevas (Midnight, Texas) have joined the recurring cast of What/If, Netflix’s social thriller anthology drama series starring Renée Zellweger, Jane Levy and Blake Jenner, from Revenge and Swingtown creator Mike Kelley.

...

What/If explores the ripple effects of what happens when acceptable people start doing unacceptable things. The first season focuses on a mysterious woman’s lucrative but dubious offer to a cash-strapped pair of San Francisco newlyweds.

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The description is very intriguing ... And the teaser conquers with its chic.

But still it is not clear what to expect from the television series. The plot remains a mystery behind seven locks ...😵

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One episode in, I'm not sure if I think this is fun trash, or just trash without any redeeming fun.  I'm going to give it another episode or two, though.

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I'm into episode 9 and I'm still not sure what the hell is going on. The B plot with the surgeon is just as weird and wild as the A plot with Zellwegger.

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I was curious about this, but I didn't really like the first episode. So did she hurt the husband? Physically? I missed something when he came home. 

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That was a funny trashy campy little show. I think the B-plot with surgeon is quite meta, because it tells us not to mess with a surgeon (with any surgeon basically, but especially with the plastic surgeon, or you will end with the face like Renee's and will have to act only with your lips and a corner of an eye, she does it with some extraordinary results though.) It's a bit of "Revenge" with Renee instead of Madeleine, a bit 50 Shades of Grey, a bit any so called "erotic thriller" from the 1990s. And the gay C-plot is ridiculously toothless.  

Edited by skotnikov
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2 hours ago, Anela said:

I was curious about this, but I didn't really like the first episode. So did she hurt the husband? Physically? I missed something when he came home. 

Spoiler

She just made him feel so bad about himself that he punched a wall, but you don't find that out until about episode 8 or so.

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We watched the first episode, decided it wasn’t any good, skipped to the last episode to find out what happened, and still have no idea what happened. Can someone give me a quick summary of the whole season? I’m not going to watch it. 

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We’ve been trying to figure out what the deal is with this show. It reminds me of when Will Farrell made a straight up lifetime movie with no comedy or redeeming features, and we watched the whole thing just because it was him and we still don’t get it why he did it. 

My boyfriend says maybe it’s a new genre of “guess if we’re serious” where the creators are laughing at the audience in between takes. 

Edited by LeGrandElephant
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I didn't like Revenge, and only made it through a few episodes of that. 

I've just watched episode two of this. I like several of the actors involved, but it isn't grabbing me. 

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5 hours ago, LeGrandElephant said:

We watched the first episode, decided it wasn’t any good, skipped to the last episode to find out what happened, and still have no idea what happened. Can someone give me a quick summary of the whole season? I’m not going to watch it. 

So I adored Revenge, I thought (and still think) the pilot was amazingly well-written and well-structured and Emily Thorne is my TV girlfriend for life. Like a faithful puppy owned by a master who turned on it, I even stayed loyal to the show after, gulp, David Clarke showed up alive and Courtney Love showed up as "White Gold", but What/If is disappointingly underwhelming so far.

I watched the pilot (boring) and then meant to watch ep 2 but watched ep 3 first by mistake to am now watching ep 2 to fill in the gap but not sure I can be bothered with any more. These characters are really not coming across as that bright or that interesting and I have a feeling that whatever the big reveal is, it's going to be a let down. But I'm still curious and I wouldn't mind a synopsis too.

On another note, I understand the need/want to nip and tuck as you age, especially with the pressures of the industry but I'm beginning to feel like plastic surgery is getting out of control and certain actors are starting to resemble escapees from the Capitol of Panem. Renee Zellweger looks like she's wearing a Renee Zellweger Kabuki mask in this. She can barely move any part of her face except her lips. This was not necessary, Renee. 

Edited by BaskingsharkGTX
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I'm on episode 3 and I don't know why.

The primary plot is preposterous.   The B plot about the surgeon and the cheating wife seems to serve no purpose whatsoever.   And the gay C-plot is doubly meaningless and boring as hell.   I like the guy who plays Foster, and it was nice to see a glimpse of Gabriel Mann, who I enjoyed as Nolan (?) on Revenge but otherwise it's just a waste of bandwidth.  Speaking of Revenge, Madeline Stowe would have been far better than Renee Zellwegger as Anne Montgomery.

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13 hours ago, LeGrandElephant said:

We watched the first episode, decided it wasn’t any good, skipped to the last episode to find out what happened, and still have no idea what happened. Can someone give me a quick summary of the whole season? I’m not going to watch it. 

Spoiler

Plot A. Ann Montgomery comes from a dysfunctional family and  as a teenager  was raped by a plumber who was, as she thought, the only  decent person in her surrounding. She ran away, gave the child for adoption and was educated to be a ruthless venture capitalist by a mystery organisation represented by someone called "uncle Sam" (or similar). They loaned her money to invest for them and share profits with them. In the meantime she followed her abandoned daughter Lisa who became a brilliant cancer-researcher, found a cure against aggressive forms of cancer and started a gentec startup. Unfortunately for Ann, her daughter is married to a man with violent tendencies who killed some rapist bar keeper years ago. Triggered by her experience with violent men, Ann thinks he's dangerous and decides to remove him from her daughter's  life, so the daughter can fully concentrate herself on the gentec firm and make profits for herself, Ann and "organisation". 

Plot B. An Afro-American surgeon (Angela) who is a friend of Lisa, has an affair with her white chief of surgery. She got pregnant by her husband and decides to end the affair with the chief for good. The chief goes full psycho. In the last couple of episodes Angela and her husband fight for their and their unborn baby's life.

Plot C. Lisa's brother Marcos is an unsuccessful lawyer who works on emigrants cases and always looses. He is in a  relationship with some Afro-American dude. In a bar Marcos meets a handsome hunky guy  Kevin and they have a threesome. Kevin is a hippie and when Marcos's boyfriend is away Kevin an Marcos trip on mushrooms and Marcos remembers that as a 5 y.o. he accidentally started a fire that killed his and Lisa's adaptive parents, cancer researches. But it's ok everyone tells him, he was a child and didn't mean to start a fire. Marcos redeems himself by successfully defending Lisa's husband who after serious talk with Anne surrendered himself to police.

Everyone marries in the end (no sh*t!)

Edited by skotnikov
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Thanks for the synopsis! I did some googling last night after posting, and I gotta say I had a lot more fun reading the reviews about how ridiculous this show is than I did actually thing the show. 

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11 minutes ago, LeGrandElephant said:

Thanks for the synopsis! I did some googling last night after posting, and I gotta say I had a lot more fun reading the reviews about how ridiculous this show is than I did actually thing the show. 

As reviews correctly state the only assets of this unbelievably badly written and poorly acted trash are Zellweger and Dave Annable who completely understand what trash they are in and do their best to take it to the meta level.    

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Thanks for that. I guessed Renee was Lisa's mom and the rest is just as lame as expected. These are some sub-Melrose Place-circa-1997 hijinks.

This show is nicely summed up by the bit in episode two where Anne tells Lisa not to bring Sean to the big evening event where his ex showed up bartending and it is painfully, transparently, glaringly obvious that she did this because she knew Lisa would do the exact opposite.

Of course that is exactly what Lisa immediately does and Sean says something like "Didn't Anne tell you not to bring me?" Lisa gives him this HUGE GRIN like a 5-year-old-gone-viral for writing a "note from my parents" in crayon excusing them from class for a week expecting 100% to get away with it and says "That's why I'm bringing you - it's CHESS!"

And I'm like no, Lisa, that's not Chess, that's Tic-Tac-Toe.

Also Kevin is a terrible dancer.

Edited by BaskingsharkGTX
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Okay, I finished episode three and that's it, I'm done.   This show is dreadful.   The horrible acting (Jane Levy comes off as shrill and juvenile, the husband is a dolt), the bullshit storyline, the clobber-you-over-the-head diversity, the insulting and antiquated depiction of gays as recklessly promiscuous ... all of it just gross. 

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1 hour ago, millennium said:

Jane Levy comes off as shrill and juvenile

She does, which is sad because I loved her in Suburgatory.

Not sure how much more I will bother with but I would be very OK if Lisa's friend (I think she's the CTO - the one she told Anne she wouldn't let go) went far, far away. I think she's supposed to be spunky and no-nonsense and down-to-earth but she just comes across as incredibly annoying.

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2 hours ago, BaskingsharkGTX said:

but she just comes across as incredibly annoying.

They all do, that's part of my problem, and I like Jane Levy. I haven't watched any more of it - moved on to Black Summer - but it looked like this woman was trying to get him back for something. Of course the Perfect Husband, has a Dark History. And I know it's annoying to capitalize things that shouldn't be capitalized, but that's how it comes across. 

It was also obvious that she wanted the husband at the party, so that she could screw with him a bit more, when this girl thought she was calling her bluff and bringing him. She's that smart, but she's never heard of reverse psychology? 

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The most exciting part of this show was realizing that the local anchor at the end who reports on 

Spoiler

Anne's death

was Perd for Parks and Rec.

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i was just coming to this forum to see what other folks were saying about the show - i'm five episodes in and starting to really enjoy it, as a soap - but i wasn't expecting to have the main "mystery" spoiled -- are forums of shows that are dropped all at once and with only one thread not required to have any spoiler tags?  

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34 minutes ago, veronicalodge44 said:

are forums of shows that are dropped all at once and with only one thread not required to have any spoiler tags?

They are not required to have spoiler tags, as once the show has dropped, it's all out there. As a rule, it's not something that's enforceable for these shows, although it is considerate to spoiler tag 'big' shockers for your fellow posters, especially early/soon after dropping. But generally, we do not want to see these topics turn into walls of spoiler tags. Thanks.

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I watched the entire thing this weekend.  My thoughts:  it was very soapy and very much network tv quality.  Like something I would see on ABC at 9pm on Wednesday night but with swearing.  I wouldn't say this one was up to a netflix original standard.  (I feel the same way about Dead to Me which I finished prior to this one so maybe the quality of what netflix is churning out is slipping.)

I am really surprised that Zellweger would sign on to this because it just seems so basic  television and not that special.  Although I was so very relieved to see that her face looks like her face again!  I like Jane Levy but found her voice and delivery of her lines to be very shrill as mentioned above.  She sounded so very much like Meghan McCain to me and as a watcher of The View, that is not a compliment. 

The ending was ridiculous and I could see it coming a mile away.  And it had major plot holes but I wasn't so wrapped up in to really care that much. 

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So far I only watched the pilot and I am extremely surprised that people aren't raving about this.   Because so far I am incredibly in.  Yes it is soapy as hell but not every show has to be gritty as all grit.  I like high soapy drama as well.  This has the potential to be alot of fun.  Netflix likes being well rounded so i can see why they picked this up.  I am just curious on how long it will last considering their habit of cancelling shows after two seasons.  

I will be back shortly (probably not after each episode) with further thoughts.  But really...am I the only one who really likes this?

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Ok I am up to episode 4 and so far I like the intrigue of the main plot.    Sean and Lisa make good foils for Anne and their plot is probably the most interesting so far.  Honestly the show could survive on this.   The other plots kind of drag down the show.  

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I watched it over the long holiday weekend. It was great sort of background tv - I didn't have to devote my full attention to it? Plus Dave Annable was having a hella good time with his role, and I really kind of enjoyed Renee Zellweger's performance too.

I found Louis Herthum really good - a tough role to play in this, but I thought he did a great job. Jane Levy wasn't as good as I would have liked, but she did fine, IMO. And I really liked the actors who played Lionel and Kevin - they kept my attention when they were on screen!

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After the first episode, I chose to fast forward past any scenes without RZ or JL.  This increased my consumption speed and focus on the A plot.  Because the other plots had so little to do with the A one, it was pretty clean.

I wish we had this choice programmed in.  For example, I am a hyper viewer of Gilmore Girls, but loathe Luke’s family (Jess, TJ, sister, April).  I’d love to speed past these characters.   Would also like to watch threads.  With Gilmore Girls, I’d love to choose “Friday Night Dinner” to see only Emily and Richard dinners.

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It was mostly bad. That said, whoever did the costuming for Zellwiger hit it out of the park, her clothes were to die for and I love me some real estate porn. 

The weird magical gay subplot was bizarre, the insanely hot surgeon losing his mind was bizarre and the ending was a head scratcher. I binged it this weekend but it really could have been 8 eps, cut out some of the weird subplots and it might have worked better. Once I figured it out all I could think was “ew, so the mom slept with her daughters husband to prove a point”, I mean ick. What a waste of some good talent. 

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I am usually a fan of any show that has a LGBT plot in it and when it was on the main listing for the show I decided to watch this over The Society.  I am still only half way through but the gay plot is the least interesting plot and completely cut off from the main plot.  At least the pregnancy plot is kinda sorta a little bit tied on.  Well not really but it is more entertaining at least.  The main plot is still good and the show could have so far dropped the other two and still had a good story.

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I don’t know if I am optimist or a masochist, but I finally made it thru episode 10. This was not “so bad, it’s good.”  This show was just bad.  The thought that this dreck might get a second season when much better Netflix shows have been cancelled irritates my soul.   

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On 5/27/2019 at 10:00 PM, saoirse said:

I watched it over the long holiday weekend. It was great sort of background tv - I didn't have to devote my full attention to it? Plus Dave Annable was having a hella good time with his role, and I really kind of enjoyed Renee Zellweger's performance too.

I found Louis Herthum really good - a tough role to play in this, but I thought he did a great job. Jane Levy wasn't as good as I would have liked, but she did fine, IMO. And I really liked the actors who played Lionel and Kevin - they kept my attention when they were on screen!

This is a great descriptor. 

I kind of half watched it while I was busy doing some work, it really didn't feel like it was worth my full undivided attention. The C plot with Lionel, Marcos and Kevin was the most engaging part IMO. They felt like the most real and relatable characters. 

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Hilariously fun bad.

Sidney Sheldon run through a Millenial's filter.  Judith Kravitz almost, but she would have had more interesting names. Everyone had a "journey." Kevin was a pansexual guru.  
 

Gonna read as so dated in just five years.

Loved Rene. I love when she speechifies and her wardrobe was delicious.

Lisa's speaking voice is soooo annoying. How in God's green earth does she have a career. Just enough vocal fry to get by.

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Marcos ... remembers that as a 5 y.o. he accidentally started a fire that killed his and Lisa's adaptive parents, cancer researches.

The fire actually killed Lisa's biological parents and then she was adopted by Marcos' parents because his mom was her nanny.

On 5/27/2019 at 8:27 PM, Chaos Theory said:

Yes it is soapy as hell but not every show has to be gritty as all grit.  I like high soapy drama as well.  This has the potential to be alot of fun.  

I love soapy tv and I love terrible tv, which is precisely why I wanted to watch this, but this was just bad in a not fun way for me. It really did have potential but it never lived up to it. I mostly blame the actors tbh. They were all just bad but not in a funny way just in a boring and embarrassing way.

On 5/28/2019 at 1:38 PM, sadie said:

Once I figured it out all I could think was “ew, so the mom slept with her daughters husband to prove a point”, I mean ick. 

Anne didn't actually sleep with Sean though. 

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Got through 2 episodes of this piece of shit before I tapped out. I love Renee Zellwegger, but there are limits.

Can't really blame her too much. All the talent in the world isn't going to overcome the nonsense she has to spout, nor will it change the fact that she was seriously miscast. "Tom Hanks in Bonfire of the Vanites"-level miscast. 

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On ‎5‎/‎25‎/‎2019 at 9:32 PM, LeGrandElephant said:

We’ve been trying to figure out what the deal is with this show. It reminds me of when Will Farrell made a straight up lifetime movie with no comedy or redeeming features, and we watched the whole thing just because it was him and we still don’t get it why he did it. 

My boyfriend says maybe it’s a new genre of “guess if we’re serious” where the creators are laughing at the audience in between takes. 

Its like the movie Wild Things.  I never have figured out if the writers really think that was some sort of genius and devious movie  OR if it was all a tongue in check campy set up that they knew was trashy and just weird. 

This was much the same way.  SO many problems with it.  Much of it just doesn't make any sense or fit together.  Starting with how the whole biotech company even worked.  They throw out a vague idea, but don't really ever explain in ANY detail whatsoever how practically the DNA sequencing helps treatment.  At least not in any way that makes any scientific sense, even in like a sci fi or half assed sort of way. 

Second, seems like a WHOLE lot of coincidences.   FOUR people linked with murder all in this small set of people who just happen together for this story.  I was waiting for the link between the doctor murdered and the rest of them, never came.  Just a random chance that the guy who killed someone and never told is random best friends with the guy whose wife is dating a mass murderer. 

Third, none of these actors can pull off the devious, smart, plotting characters they are trying to portray in anything more than a long twirling mustache evildoer sort of way, like out of a cartoon.  WAY overdone and just not believable. 

Fourth, and this probably bothers me the most, it seems the plot of Ann-Sean-Lisa plot is just completely stolen from the show The Blacklist.  Hell right down to even mentioning James Spader in this show with the 1980s tribute at the high school reunion.  Did they purposely do this as a sort of wink-wink nudge to The Blacklist?  I'm not sure.  Heck Jane Levy even acts like Megan Boone. 

Fifth, I don't know what Ann really had Sean do the night they were together, other than just poor on guilt.  Also, did she set up Sean and Lisa meeting in the first place?  Put them together?  If are  following The Blacklist as the framework, that must be true

Why didn't Sean confess to the murder at the time it happened?   That story is easily changed to where it is self defense and they had to kill the guy.  Guy sings a bat at you/your GF, you steal it swing back, he dies.  That is not exactly what happened, but could easily claim it was.

When Sean did confess, why didn't he ask his wife's brother, a lawyer, before doing so?  Would seem logical?

Same many gaps and plot holes and bad acting. 

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I still haven't watched the rest of this. So did Renee's character set up the gay brother and his boyfriend with the dancer guy, or was that just thrown in there? 

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14 hours ago, Anela said:

I still haven't watched the rest of this. So did Renee's character set up the gay brother and his boyfriend with the dancer guy, or was that just thrown in there? 

It was just thrown in there.  Dancer guy has nothing to do with Renee's character.

Edited by Cementhead
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I must be the only person who actually liked it.   Maybe I have no taste.   Ok this wasn’t high art or anything but I actually found the main plot fun.   Plus the evil Doctor plot hilarious soap operaish .  Honestly the rest of the story was a little weak.  And sadly I hate to say it but the gay plot was a waste and wasted but the rest of the story was actually kinda fun.  

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Plus the evil Doctor plot hilarious soap operaish .

David Annable just seemed so happy to have work that he just threw himself in it. I think ya got a future playing Lifetime psychos, kid!

Seeing Anne at the end with the dark Victoria Grayson hair made me think about how much I would have rather seen Madeline Stowe instead. Renee really was so miscast in this part.

Blake Jenner- boring as hell but damn I like his shoulders.

Keegan Allen has turned into a scenery-chewing actor that I enjoy. See: King Cobra.

Edited by methodwriter85
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I just finished this. I described it to a friend as hot garbage, just terrible. But I suffer from this affliction that makes me finish what I start so I just gritted my teeth and kept going. I don’t recall ever seeing the actress that played Lisa before but she was dreadful. 

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