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Oh, Lifetime, what happened? After releasing a string of amazing Lifetime flicks from your 2017 Deadly Resolutions marathon, things seemed so bright for you. Great acting, character depth, and entertaining drama and action; you had it all! You seemed to be well on your way to proving that everyone was wrong in sidelining you as a inept TV movie factory for middle-aged housewives.
And then you go and release Blood, Sweat and Lies.
Things were already shaky for this film's chances of success, as it was released by MarVista Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based company known for making several made-for-TV films. While it's had its share of memorable films, MarVista has also been responsible for a lot of clinker, low-tier Lifetime films that have failed to entertain due to a lack of character depth, action, innovation, or a combination of those three flaws. In the case of Blood, Sweat and Lies (which MarVista originally titled The Killer Trainer) all three of these sins is committed.
The story centers around Melissa (Hannah Barefoot, who previously starred in MarVista's Off the Rails), a successful artist fresh off a breakup from her douchebag boyfriend who has the gall not to know what Melissa's favorite color is (what a monster). As a result, she gets persuaded by her best friend Leslie (Briana Lane) to join a gym, where she meets and befriends trainer Trey (Adam Huber). Trey is sweet, handsome, and has an impressive pair of abs that are barely contained by his tanktop. If this were a Hallmark movie, they'd be married by the end credits.
But instead, this is Lifetime, so it should come as no surprise that Trey has a few screws loose. He becomes irritated whenever anything distracts Melissa from the strict workout regime he puts her on—especially when it comes in the form of Adam (Matt Cedeño), the "dashing" (more on that later) businessman who Melissa meets in her art gallery and begins dating. Soon, Melissa begins to see Trey's true nature and decides to leave the gym, but Trey has old history with Melissa and won't let her go so easily...
LMN premiered Blood, Sweat and Lies after a re-airing of the similarly plotted Fatal Defense, which is a perfect match-up considering how both movies are so boring and move at a snail's pace. However, while Fatal Defense at least has good acting and somewhat exhilarating action sequences to sustain some viewers' attention, Blood, Sweat and Lies doesn't have that good fortune. The movie takes almost an hour for Trey to actually exhibit any "Lifetime psycho" qualities, and by then, the viewer will be so numbed that it will have little effect. The actors give all the effort they can, but ultimately, the well-worn molds they are crippled with in place of genuine characters leave them with little room to improve upon the lackluster script. Even the film's dramatic confrontation climax, which has a few genuinely intense moments, comes to an abrupt and unsatisfying end.
This issues comes into greater focus in regards to the film's "romance" between Melissa and Adam. From the moment Adam enters the screen, he exudes the same brand of uninspired charm as you expect to find on The Bachelor. Some of these eye roll-worthy moments include him saying over a dinner with Melissa, "Have I told you that you're stunning?" and addressing her (with apparent complete seriousness and without provocation) as a "goddess." As a result, Adam becomes nothing more than window dressing for the viewers and his chemistry with Melissa and the romance subplot as a whole is dry and lifeless and does nothing but bog down the already suffering plot.
Thankfully, one thing rescues Blood, Sweat and Lies from being a complete disappointment to Lifetime's name: Adam Huber's excellently crazy performance as Trey. While you know from the get-go that Trey is a delusional nutcase who will become obsessed with Melissa, Huber exudes such natural charm that you'll find yourself liking him more than the yawn-inducing protagonists he's terrorizing. He additionally is the only character in the film who is given a smidgen of depth, as a result of his connection to Melissa from the past. This connection (which I won't spoil) is predictable and is telegraphed much too soon, but it provided potential insight into Trey's crazed adoration for Melissa and a new view on his character that is sadly ignored in favor of making him another typical obsessive stalker.
Blood, Sweat and Lies is sadly another dud for MarVista, and another wasted opportunity of a film to add to Lifetime's dossier. While I'd recommend watching for at least a memorable performance from Adam Huber, nothing else about this flick is compelling enough for a stronger recommendation. If you're into muscly psychopathic bad guys, DVR Blood, Sweat and Lies, fast forward through all the "plot," and enjoy.
Score: 3 out of 10 trashed art galleries.