Welcome back to my second review for this year’s Garage Sale Mystery Month! I’m so glad that guests of 18 Cinema Lane have taken an interest in not just the Garage Sale Mystery series, but other films on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries as well. I was pleasantly surprised when my Garage Sale Mysteries: The Pandora’s Box Murders review received a total of 55 views and counting! It seemed that people enjoyed that review to the point where it encouraged me to review Garage Sale Mysteries: The Mask Murder, the second part of Garage Sale Mystery Month. I will admit that when I read the official synopsis for the film, it reminded me of Garage Sale Mystery: All That Glitters quite a bit. Because both films have a plot that centers around a storage facility, I was hoping that this latest Garage Sale Mystery film wasn’t a rehash of story material that has already been told. Did a brand-new plot emerge from a “tried and true” story idea? Read my review of Garage Sale Mysteries: The Mask Murder for this answer and my opinion on the film to be revealed!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: One of the various elements of the Garage Sale Mystery series that has remained consistent since the very beginning has been the overall quality of the acting performances. This is especially the case for the second part in this year’s Garage Sale Mystery Month! The cast of Garage Sale Mysteries: The Mask Murder was good! Every actress and actor pulled off a memorable performance that made me enjoy the film even more. All of the cast members shined in this movie, including those who portrayed minor characters. Michael P. Northey and Jeffrey Ballard both portrayed side characters in Garage Sale Mysteries: The Mask Murder. However, both of them gave such a strong performance, bringing the right amount of emotion and believability to their respective roles.
The mystery: In Garage Sale Mysteries: The Mask Murder, the plot that involved the titular mystery was really well-written! As I’ve said before, I had my concerns about this film’s plot feeling like a rehashed version of Garage Sale Mystery: All That Glitters. But, Garage Sale Mysteries: The Mask Murder’s story was different from that film, with new characters and subplots that made the movie feel unique within this series. I won’t give anything away if you haven’t watched this film yet, but the reveal of the guilty character totally caught me by surprise!
Hannah’s subplot: The subplot that Hannah was given in Garage Sale Mysteries: The Mask Murder was much better than her subplot in the previous Garage Sale Mystery film. In the second film within Garage Sale Mystery Month, Hannah and her dad, Jason, joined Hannah’s sorority in a contest where they were required to build a tiny house for the homeless. I found this storyline to be very interesting and enjoyable! The concept of taking a relevant idea, like tiny houses, and pairing it with a volunteer opportunity was very clever! Also, I liked how more than one character was able to share this subplot and have a purpose for being present within that subplot. Looking back on this story, I’m really surprised that the Fixer Upper Mystery series didn’t feature a plot like this in one of their movies.
What I didn’t like about the film:
Lack of a subplot for Logan: In my review of Garage Sale Mysteries: The Pandora’s Box Murders, I shared that Logan’s subplot was one of the things I didn’t like about that film. When I discovered that Logan didn’t receive a subplot in Garage Sale Mysteries: The Mask Murder, I was disappointed. Logan did play a significant role within the aforementioned subplot involving Hannah and Jason, but I was just hoping Logan would obtain a subplot that was better than the last one he was given.
The under-utilization of Ryan: Cory Rempel’s character, Ryan, was introduced in the previous Garage Sale Mystery film as Hannah’s friend who later became her boyfriend. When I, as an audience member, learned that Ryan was a police officer, I thought that he would assist Jennifer in solving various mysteries in upcoming Garage Sale Mystery films. Unfortunately, this was not the case in Garage Sale Mysteries: The Mask Murder. Not only that, he wasn’t really a part of the subplot featuring Hannah and Jason either. Toward the end of the film, Ryan did express interest in becoming a detective, so I’m hoping that he can play an integral role when it comes to solving each film’s mystery.
Not enough clues: Within all of the mystery series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, each film has a certain number of clues that help the protagonist and the authorities solve each respective film’s case. In Garage Sale Mysteries: The Mask Murder, however, I felt there were not enough clues to satisfy the story. A good amount of statements from witnesses and suspects were provided in this film, but few items that were incorporated in this movie were actually identified as clues. When I think about this movie, I can only think of five or less clues from this film’s case, such as a mask and a hat.
My overall impression:
This was a much better film than Garage Sale Mysteries: The Pandora’s Box Murders! When it comes to movie line-ups, whether they appear on Hallmark Channel or Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, the first movie is, sometimes, the weakest entry. This was definitely the case for Hailey Dean Mystery Month, where the first movie was decent, but the rest of the movies got stronger as the month went on. Last year’s Garage Sale Mystery Month experienced the same issue. Garage Sale Mystery: The Beach Murder was, to me, the weakest out of those four films. The other three movies became much more enjoyable throughout the month of August. While we’re on the subject of Garage Sale Mysteries: The Mask Murder, there was one scene where Jennifer went to a movie theater named Hollywood 3 Cinemas. For a while, I’ve wanted to see a Garage Sale Mystery movie that focused on either movie memorabilia or had a mystery centered around a movie theater. After seeing that scene in this latest Garage Sale Mystery film, it made me want to see a movie themed mystery film even more! If more films continue to be created in the Garage Sale Mystery series, maybe my wish will, one day, come true.
Overall score: 7.6 out of 10
Are you enjoying Garage Sale Mystery Month so far? What type of location would you like to see featured in a future Garage Sale Mystery film? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!