Friday, March 08, 2024

Hunting Housewives, on Lifetime

This is not The Most Dangerous Game. These women will not be hunted for sport. They are not the subjects of a contest produced for the pleasure of dark-web viewers either, although Karla Dodds’ husband will rely on techniques he developed as a reality TV producer. He simply wants to kill her and he assumes the husbands of her three friends feel the same way in Marco Deufemia’s Hunting Housewives, which premieres tomorrow night on Lifetime.

Dodds and her three besties, Joli Symons, Sharrell Bouvier, and Rebel Carron-Whitman think they are being whisked away for a weekend getaway at an exclusive, unlisted spa. Instead, her husband paid the pilot to crash their private plane and then hunt down the survivors. He can’t shoot straight, but he can down the plane exactly in the remote area of forest where the arrogantly entitled and menacingly manipulative Mark Dodds set up all his surveillance cameras.

Then the creepy TV guy invites the other three husbands over to watch the drama unfold live, in his man-cave. Evan Whitman is so shocked and violently outraged, Dodds is forced to lock him in the panic room. Andre Bouvier and Jared Symons are also shocked, but they stifle their outrage, so Dodds will not draw his gun on them as well.

Hunting Housewives
is no Hard Target or The Hunt. It isn’t even Hunted. Frankly, it doesn’t even fit in the “people-hunting-people” sub-sun-genre. Despite Mark Dodds’ voyeuristic glee, this master plan is not about sport. It is simply a ridiculously overcomplicated murder scheme, probably more befitting a supervillain wearing tights. Seriously, you would think there would be an easier way to go about it.

Of course, we could roll with a dubious premise, if it came with solid action or suspense, but
Hunting Housewives has too many execution issues, starting with the fact nobody can even hold a gun in a competent, credible manner. For Denise Richards, this is a step back from credible VOD action work in Altitude (not a great movie, but she helped elevate it).

Richards still delivers all the housewives’s best lines with appropriate attitude. Yet, most of the relatively limited entertainment comes from Mark Ghanime snarling his way through the unlikely scheme. Along with Richards, Kym Johnson Herjavec, Melyssa Ford, and NeNe Leakes serve up plenty of reality-TV-worthy rich housewife sass, which is probably what the target audience is looking for, but that is about it.

Obviously, screenwriter Paula Tiberius drastically tilts the playing field to favor the hunted housewives. Ghanime further accentuates the stark divide. Sergio Di Zio’s weaselly portrayal of the noncommittal Symons is hardly a credit to dude-dom, but it is rather colorful. However, Tiberius deserves some credit for evenhandedness, because it makes it clear not all men are evil—rather the contrary.

Hunting Housewives fails to deliver any appreciable thrills or tension. Maybe it will satisfy the core demographic, but it has no cross-over potential. Richards deserves a better vehicle. Not recommended, Hunting Housewives airs tomorrow night (3/9) on Lifetime.