Yes, I know Crossword Mysteries: Proposing Murder has already premiered. But since I haven’t reviewed a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film since August and since I reviewed Crossword Mysteries: A Puzzle to Die For, I thought that a review for the second movie should be in order. In my review of the first film, I said that it had potential to start a strong and entertaining series. Even though the movie had its flaws, there were things about it that I enjoyed. Now the sequel has arrived! In this review, it’ll be interesting to see where this series has improved, where it still needs to grow, and if it has what it takes to be a long-lasting series. Who knows? Maybe September or October could become Crossword Mysteries Month! Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s start this review of Crossword Mysteries: Proposing Murder.
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: Just like in the first film, the acting was one of the highlights of Crossword Mysteries: Proposing Murder! Both Brennan and Lacey seemed comfortable in their roles, based on how natural their portrayals came across on screen. What works in their favor is how they’ve worked together in other Hallmark productions. This helped them build a believable on-screen relationship. In years past, I’ve enjoyed Kimberly J. Brown’s performances in films such as the Halloweentown series, Ellen Foster, and My Sister’s Keeper. Seeing her appear as Logan’s sister was such a pleasant surprise! Though her time in the movie was very limited, she still found a way to shine in this project. I hope she can receive a lead role in a Hallmark production some day!
The on-screen chemistry: Like I just said, Lacey and Brennan worked together on other Hallmark projects prior to the creation of this series. This aspect helped them have good on-screen chemistry! Throughout Crossword Mysteries: Proposing Murder, the characters of Logan and Tess had a relationship that felt realistic and convincing. It also seems like their friendship was progressing from where it started in the first film. Watching Logan and Tess’s relationship grow provides one of the lighter moments of this movie.
An incorporation of history: While this element was only brief, I thought it was interesting how history was incorporated into the story. I’m not going to spoil anything if you haven’t seen this movie yet. What I will say is I found this to be more educational than I was expecting. The element of history also made sense with what was happening on screen. History isn’t always included in films from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. It’s inclusion in Crossword Mysteries: Proposing Murder added something unique to this movie!
What I didn’t like about the film:
Limited amount of suspense: In any mystery film, there’s a certain amount of suspense that can be found within the story. But in Crossword Mysteries: Proposing Murder, I found very little suspense in the narrative. While a few suspenseful moments were presented, it wasn’t enough to be consistent. Because of this, it made the threat seem not as significant as in other mystery stories. It also felt like the characters kept their distance from any real sense of danger.
The pace: As I’ve talked about before, mystery movies on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries usually have a faster pace. Crossword Mysteries: Proposing Murder, however, ended up having a slower pace. This caused the film to feel drawn out and not as engaging as it could have been. The film’s slower pace prevented the project from being thrilling and exciting, components that make a good mystery story. Add the limited amount of suspense, this movie is a few steps away from being a typical Hallmark Channel movie.
Crossword puzzles being insignificant: In Crossword Mysteries: A Puzzle to Die For, crossword puzzles played a huge role when it came to solving the mystery. This time around, these puzzles were featured for only a short amount of time. Also, they weren’t used to solve the movie’s overarching mystery. The idea of having these puzzles be clues in a mystery is not a bad idea. But their limited appearance makes it seem like the series’ creative team is starting to realize how niche this concept really is.
Crossword puzzle image created by jaylopez at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/JayLopez.”
My overall impression:
Just like the first movie, I found Crossword Mysteries: Proposing Murder to be ok. Sure, it had its strengths, such as the acting and inclusion of history. But the movie had some of the same flaws that its predecessor did. If Hallmark wants this series to be successful, the creative team behind it needs to improve upon these things. The next movie in this series is Crossword Mysteries: Abracadaver, a film that I’m looking forward to! Magic isn’t always found in Hallmark films, so this project has the potential to be something interesting. The idea of a facility that houses magic shows seems fascinating, as a location like this has never been featured in any Hallmark production. Mystery and magic could go hand-in-hand, especially with Halloween approaching. I just hope that its better than the first and second film.
Overall score: 6.3 out of 10
Have you seen the films from the Crossword Mysteries series? Which series from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!