Thanks for joining me for my review of Garage Sale Mysteries: Picture A Murder, the third film in Garage Sale Mystery Month. What sets the Garage Sale Mystery series apart from the other series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries is the creativity surrounding each item that Jennifer finds, as well as the stories that can, potentially, be attached to those items. This has especially been evident in the films that have premiered in Garage Sale Mystery Month so far. The first two Garage Sale Mystery movies are about an intricate puzzle box and an interesting mask. Each of these items were connected to a murder mystery that was unique to the film they were featured in. Now, in Garage Sale Mysteries: Picture A Murder, the object that Jennifer comes across is a vintage camera. Can this camera and the mystery associated with it continue Garage Sale Mystery’s creative streak? Read my review of Garage Sale Mysteries: Picture A Murder to figure this mystery out!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: With everyone giving a good performance, I thought the cast of Garage Sale Mysteries: Picture A Murder was talented! Sarah Strange, one of the series’ starring cast members, has always been a great addition to the Garage Sale Mystery films. Not only was her performance in Garage Sale Mysteries: Picture A Murder versatile and convincing, but her comedic delivery was great! I was also impressed with Edward Ruttle’s performance in this film. Edward’s portrayal of Tony, the murder victim’s nephew, contained so much realism, there were moments throughout this film where I found myself feeling bad for Tony. I’m hoping that, one day, Edward and Max Lloyd-Jones are cast in a Hallmark movie together where they get to portray brothers. This is because when Edward first appeared on-screen in Garage Sale Mysteries: Picture A Murder, he looked so similar to Max that I actually thought Max was cast in a Garage Sale Mystery film.
The mystery: In most mystery films on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, the protagonist is one of the first people to find the murder victim’s deceased body. This was not the case for Garage Sale Mysteries: Picture A Murder. Jennifer was nowhere near the crime scene when the murder victim’s body was first discovered. I thought this was an interesting choice for the creative team behind this movie to make. Another interesting creative decision that was seen in this movie was having a family member of the murder victim working alongside Jennifer, to a certain extent, to solve the mystery within the film’s main plot. More often than not, the protagonist is kept at a certain distance between themselves and individuals that are identified as family members of the murder victim or suspects of the crime. Having Tony, the murder victim’s nephew, help Jennifer solve the case added more intrigue to the primary plot.
The humor: In my review of Garage Sale Mysteries: The Pandora’s Box Murders, I talked about how the humor that is found within the Garage Sale Mystery films is one of the highlights to the series. The humor within Garage Sale Mysteries: Picture A Murder certainly adds to the continuity of the series! Earlier in this review, I said that Sarah Strange’s comedic delivery was great. Not only that, but her on-screen interactions between her and Lori Loughlin are delightful and humorous! Moments like these are what helps keep the balance within each Garage Sale Mystery film between the light-hearted and darker tones that are found in this series.
What I didn’t like about the film:
Lack of suspense: Usually, a mystery film on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries contains a certain amount of suspense that maintains the intrigue of the story. This helps the audience stay motivated to follow along with the protagonist and figure out who committed the crime. In Garage Sale Mysteries: Picture A Murder, however, there were only two moments throughout the film that, to me, felt suspenseful. One of these moments was the climax. The rest of the film didn’t feel as exciting as what I’m used to in the Garage Sale Mystery series.
Logan’s subplot: In my Garage Sale Mysteries: The Pandora’s Box Murders review, I mentioned that Logan’s subplot was one of the things I didn’t like about the movie. The subplot that Logan was given in Garage Sale Mysteries: Picture A Murder was another one that I didn’t like. In this movie, Logan has the opportunity to publish his paper in the school newspaper, but refuses for unknown reasons. While this subplot wasn’t bad, it felt a little too drawn out.
The absence of Ryan: I mentioned in my Garage Sale Mysteries: The Mask Murder review that Ryan being under-utilized in the film was a negative aspect to the movie overall. Because of this, I was hoping he would receive more screen-time in the next movie and train alongside Detective Lynwood, since Ryan did express interest in becoming a detective. Unfortunately, Ryan was nowhere to be found throughout this entire movie. Also, no one ever mentioned his whereabouts, not even Hannah. Ryan’s absence broke a level of continuity within the four Garage Sale Mystery films in Garage Sale Mystery Month.
My overall impression:
As good as Garage Sale Mysteries: Picture A Murder was, it was not as good as the previous film. To me, the four Garage Sale Mystery films within last year’s Garage Sale Mystery Month seemed to get stronger as August went on. This year, I don’t think that will be the case. I will admit it is a little disappointing, especially since the Garage Sale Mystery series is one of my favorites on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. However, I’m not concerned about the future of this series. We still have one more movie left in this year’s Garage Sale Mystery Month. Also, the Garage Sale Mystery series is the longest running movie series in Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ current collection of mystery films. I have a feeling we will see a Garage Sale Mystery Month next year and I’m hoping the next Garage Sale Mystery film meets or exceeds my expectations.
Overall score: 7.5 out of 10
What are your thoughts on this year’s Garage Sale Mystery Month so far? Would you like to see Garage Sale Mystery Month return in 2019? Let me know in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!