Welcome back to another Aurora Teagarden review! As I said in my last review, I stated that I was excited for the next movie. Why, you ask? Well that’s because I was looking forward to seeing how a murder mystery party was incorporated into the Aurora Teagarden series! Parties like this are not featured in films on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. So, this particular creative decision intrigued me about this film. When I watched the trailer for Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: An Inheritance to Die For, I noticed that Preston Vanderslice appeared in two clips. Preston is becoming one of my favorite actors in the Hallmark community. He is one of the few actors who can successfully pull off a portrayal of both a likable and unlikable character. He also won the title of Best Supporting Actor from a Hallmark Channel Movie in this year’s Gold Sally Awards! Whenever Preston appears in a Hallmark production, I know, as a Hallmark fan, that he’s going to put everything he has, talent wise, into that performance!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: Just like in the previous Aurora Teagarden movie, the acting was one of the best aspects! As always, Marilu Henner gave a great performance as Aida Teagarden! What helps is that she has consistently portrayed this character throughout the series. This not only helped Marilu become familiar with the role, but also include her talents to bring this character to life! As I said in my introduction, I was excited to see Preston Vanderslice appear in this film. His performance did not disappoint, as this helped me stay invested in his character from start to finish! His character, Cade, is a very multi-layered individual. This is something that is not always seen in mystery films on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Despite this, Preston shined as this role was the perfect fit for his talents!
The incorporation of the Real Murders Club: In the Aurora Teagarden series, the Real Murders Club plays a minor role in the overall narrative. In both Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: An Inheritance to Die For and Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse, this group actually worked together in an attempt to solve the mystery! Even though Aurora ended up solving the mystery by herself, as usual, the Real Murders Club was able to help the plot move forward. Seeing almost every individual provide their insight into the film’s main plot was interesting to witness. It kind of makes me wish that Hallmark Movies & Mysteries would create a television show based on the Real Murders Club from this series.
Arthur and Lynn’s subplot: Similar to the Real Murders Club, the characters of Arthur and Lynn are, usually, given minor roles within each film. While their subplot in Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: An Inheritance to Die For wasn’t spectacular, it gave Arthur and Lynn an opportunity to play larger roles in the story. Instead of just telling Aurora that she couldn’t help them solve the mystery, they are shown using their detective skills to carry out their jobs and provide their pieces of the puzzle to the overall conflict. Whenever there’s a character or characters that work for the police, but are not a love interest, their side of the story is usually not explored. In Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: An Inheritance to Die For, however, Arthur and Lynn were not only given more screen-time, but they were also given more of a story than they normally receive.
What I didn’t like about the film:
The murder mystery party: Now, I know what you’re thinking, “But Sally, I thought you were looking forward to this part of the film. How could not like it”? It’s not the murder mystery party itself that I didn’t like. The length of time it was given was what I had an issue with. In the trailer for Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: An Inheritance to Die For, it seemed like a large portion of the movie would take place at a murder mystery party. In reality, this part of the story only lasted for about five minutes. Also, this party barely played a role in the overall plot. This is not only an example of false advertising, but it makes me feel like it shouldn’t have been included in the film.
The pace: In the last Aurora Teagarden review, one of the flaws that I pointed out was the film’s slow pace. Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: An Inheritance to Die For also made this same mistake when it comes to the pace of the film. Because it was slow, it made the overall project feel longer than its intended two hour run time. What didn’t help was some of the scenes being drawn out in order to satisfy this run-time. This made ideas take a while to be expressed. I found myself enjoying this movie less than other mysteries on the network. It shows that a film’s pace can truly make or break a production.
An imbalance between comedy and drama: I said in my review of Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse that the overall tone of the movie was more serious than in previous films. The tone of Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: An Inheritance to Die For was also serious, with very few comedic moments. I also said in the aforementioned review that comedy is used to give the audience a break from the darkness associated with the film’s murder. But, if a mystery movie doesn’t give its viewers some distance between the grimness of the situation, it might make the experience of watching the film more depressing. This Aurora Teagarden movie didn’t provide their audience with that distance, which means that the primary focus of the story was on the darker and serious subjects.
My overall impression:
Compared to the last film and as a film in general, I found Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: An Inheritance to Die For to be just ok. Looking back on this movie, I’m still disappointed about how little time was given to the murder mystery party that was promised in the marketing. Besides that, this movie has some of the same flaws that the previous Aurora Teagarden film did. But, it’s important to point out the positives within this movie. One example is the acting, especially from Preston Vanderslice! For the most part, this series has been one of the strongest on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. With one more film set to premiere during Aurora Teagarden Month, I hope this upcoming film is better than these first two Aurora Teagarden films combined. From what I’ve seen in the trailer, it looks like a murder mystery play will be involved. But, after the murder mystery party in Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: An Inheritance to Die For, I’m not getting my hopes up.
Overall score: 6.1 out of 10
What are your thoughts on Aurora Teagarden Month so far? Are you looking forward to the next movie? Let me know in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!