NOW it's time to tackle one of the films at the bottom of MarVista's barrel. Mind you, I love MarVista; their films (even if everything else is terrible) provides me with attractive people and sets to admire and usually keep things moving consistently enough that I can watch and enjoy their movies.
But even gorgeous actors and beautiful sets can't save Wrong Swipe from being a let-down.
Anna (Anna Hutchinson of The Cabin In The Woods fame) is having a hard time with her life. After her father was tragically killed in an attempted robbery, Anna is left struggling to balance college with taking care of her agoraphobic mother as well as living with her irresponsible sister Sasha (Karissa Lee Staples) and her boyfriend Matt (Rhys Ward). Convinced that her sister needs to get back on the market to conquer her blues, Sasha makes a profile for Anna on Swipe, the hottest dating app.
Soon after she gets the app, things begin to take a turn for Anna. After several botched dates, she finally clicks with someone. But when her date is found brutally murdered and Anna starts getting disturbing notifications that suggest a Swipe user is stalking her, she must fight to survive being the object of a maniac's obsession... who turns out to be someone close to home.
This is the kind of movie that can be hard to review, as Wrong Swipe is a movie where almost nothing of entertaining substance happens. Anna, for the most part, is a sedentary protagonist, essentially sitting back and allowing her unknown stalker to terrorize her before finding their identity basically by accident. Instead of having our leading heroine do anything, things happen to her—mostly inflicted on her by the seemingly endless parade of jerky men who enter her life as a result of Swipe. As a result, Anna becomes a flat and lifeless protagonist, which is not helped by Anna Hutchinson's uninspired performance.
Karissa Lee Staples, as I've seen in Merry Kissmas and Inspired to Kill, is an accomplished actress—who is sadly renegaded into a rather loathsome character. Sasha is basically an adult version of the Annoying Younger Sibling trope, with an irritating helping of Self-Centered Bitch mixed in. Not only is she an reckless party girl who is first shown in the present stumbling home drunk, she's also shown to be callously disregarding of her mother's mental health in the wake of her father's death and essentially tries to force Anna to "get over" her grief. In an especially disgusting move, Sasha laughs at learning that one of Anna's blind Swipe dates attempted to date rape her. Her "redemption" does little to wash the bad taste of her previous actions from my mouth, and it's a shame to see Staples have her talents wasted in an infuriating character mold.
But as if boring characters weren't enough to sink this movie, the story also fails to entertain or move at a consistent pace. Seeing Anna go out on several bad dates and attract unsavory men is on the same level as watching an endless marathon of Christian Mingle ads. By the time the climax approaches, the viewer will (ironically) probably be browsing through their phone, just waiting for something to actually happen. The climax isn't even worthy of the wait, as the villain (who you'll most likely predict quite easily) is an incomprehensible--turn captions on if you want to follow his villainous rant--and is simply a generic "Obsessed Maniac" archetype who we aren't given the chance to get to know.
Wrong Swipe is exactly how not to do a Tech Themed Lifetime Movie. Not only does the movie portray Tinder (which anyone with a brain can see is the inspiration behind the movie's fictional dating app) as a haven for creeps and rapists, it also does little to utilize the vast opportunities the concepts lays out for the film. This is certainly a film you should swipe left for if you see it playing.
Score: 1 out of 10 alarming app notifications.