In Her Mother’s Footsteps


Rating 1¾

Directed by Farhad Mann

Written by Steven A Finly

Starring Emma Caulfield (Kate Nolan), David Orth (Bobby Nolan), Matreya Fedor (Emma Nolan), Daryl Shuttleworth (Detective Garcey), Jody Thompson (Gina Byrnes), Tracy Waterhouse (Janet Cuccini), Adrien Dorval (Lucas Portwell ) and Mackenzie Gray (Carl Brookes)

Kate Nolan learns that her estranged father, who she has not seen for many years, has died, leaving her a fortune worth eleven million dollars. He had also bought a large house for her, which he was in the process of renovating when he died. Kate moves into the house with her daughter Emma and husband Bobby, but soon she is having a serious of disturbing dreams and visions, suggesting a repeat of the breakdown she suffered when her first husband, Emma’s father, died three years earlier. Her fragile state of mind is further compromised when she accuses her dead father of committing several murders in the house and becomes the focus of the police investigation into the alleged crimes.


‘In Her Mother’s Footsteps’, which is also known as ‘Deadly Inheritance’, is a 2006 psychological horror mystery film made for the Lifetime Movie Network. The story covers very well worn ground and is told in an instantly familiar style. There is nothing here that has not been done many times before. The narrative is somewhat unfocused and both the screenplay and the direction would have benefited from being sharper. The twists and deceptions in the story are not particularly accomplished and the dénouement, if given too much thought, is silly and implausible.

Having expressed these criticisms, the film has the merits typical of Lifetime productions. It is easy and enjoyable to watch, avoids the pandering and nastiness that blights some horror films and psychological thrillers made for cinema or DVD release, and boasts a competent and watchable cast. The lead role is taken by the likeable Emma Caulfield, who was memorable in the role of Anya in seasons three through to seven of Joss Whedon’s acclaimed television series ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’. She was also excellent in the under-appreciated 2003 horror film ‘Darkness Falls’.

You know what you are going to get with a Lifetime film and there are rarely if ever any surprises in store. As such, potential viewers are likely to already know if ‘In Her Mother’s Footsteps’ would be for them. I make no great claims for it, but I wanted to watch it and I am glad to have had the opportunity to do so.

Review posted 23 August 2009


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