Originally, I was going to publish my 255 blog follower dedication review. While I still plan on posting this review, I decided to publish a Word on the Street story instead. In one of last month’s Word on the Street articles, I announced two Hallmark Movies & Mysteries series, Crossword Mysteries and Chronicle Mysteries, were either filming a new chapter or were about to film a new chapter. It looks like these two series are not the only ones to receive a new movie. On Creative B.C., the filming schedule for an upcoming Aurora Teagarden Mysteries and Mystery 101 film were posted! ‘Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: How To Con A Con’ will start filming on November 6th and end on November 24th. Even though the movie’s synopsis is not known at this time, I hope it is about comic conventions, based on the listed title. Meanwhile, ‘Mystery 101: Movie 6 – Killer Timing’ just started filming on November 2nd and will conclude on November 20th. Like I said about Crossword Mysteries and Chronicle Mysteries in October, these films in the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries and Mystery 101 series will likely premiere in 2021, based on their filming schedules.
What are your thoughts on this announcement? Are you looking forward to any of these films? Tell me in the comment section!
I’ll be honest, it hasn’t been easy finding movie news stories to discuss on 18 Cinema Lane. However, I am thankful when I come across news about Hallmark productions! While I did talk about stories revolving around Hallmark films last month, those projects were Christmas related. In this Word on the Street article, I will address Hallmark films that will premiere outside the Christmas season! With the ‘Fall Harvest’ line-up just around the corner, it’s common for viewers to see trailers rolled out as the weeks go by. My Word on the Street story will focus on the first new trailer for the line-up. Before the Christmas season begins, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries likes to air some new films during the Fall. This Word on the Street story will feature a discussion about two upcoming movies; with one receiving a trailer and the other receiving a synopsis. As I sometimes do, I will share my opinion on these pieces of movie news.
Two new trailers have been released from Hallmark; with one for a ‘Fall Harvest’ film and the other for an upcoming movie from Hallmark’s second network! The first one represents the Hallmark Channel movie Follow Me to Daisy Hills, which currently has a release date of September 19th. In the trailer, there were three scenes that featured good cinematography! These scenes revolved around a river during the autumn season. The acting from the leads, Cindy Busby and Marshall Williams, appeared stiff to me. However, this is not a reflection of their performances in the film, as the movie has not been released yet. I am disappointed that with a project called Follow Me to Daisy Hills, there were no daisies to be found. It makes me wonder why the film’s town is even called ‘Daisy Hills’ at all?
The other trailer is for one of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ newest titles, JL Family Ranch: The Wedding Gift. This movie is advertised on the main page of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ official website and boasts a release date of September 27th. As I look back on this specific trailer, I noticed how this movie feels like a complete tonal shift from its predecessor. From what I remember, JL Family Ranch was a gritty, modern western that had a certain amount of adrenaline and suspense. According to the trailer, however, the sequel is a heart-felt drama that focuses on family and second chances. Even the color scheme and lighting appear brighter than the first film.
Speaking of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, an official synopsis for Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Reunited and it Feels So Deadly has been posted on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ website! Below is the description for the movie:
“Aurora’s high school reunion turns deadly when a body is found in the hotel pool. Aurora and her Real Murders Club help investigate which classmate was most likely to kill.”
Even though the movie sounds interesting, I am disappointed that the “reunited” part of the film will not have anything to do with Aurora’s ex, Martin. In a Word on the Street story back in February, I wondered if Martin would return to the series, based on the film’s title. A dynamic that hasn’t been featured in a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film before could have been found in this project. But I guess there’s always the next film. What I do wonder is if any mentions of Nick and Aurora’s engagement will be found within the script? Will we see any wedding planning in the film? If we do, it would continue the story’s overarching continuity.
What are your thoughts on these pieces of movie news? Are you looking forward to any of the films I talked about? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!
Here are the links if you want to check out each source:
It’s no secret that my Hallmark Movies & Mysteries related content is some of the most popular on 18 Cinema Lane. My review of Hailey Dean Mysteries: A Will to Kill has acquired over 1,000 views, making it the most popular movie I’ve ever written about! In recent days, my Aurora Teagarden reviews have garnered a large number of views. Because I was planning on talking about the newest film from this series, these viewership numbers gave me a greater reason to review Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Heist and Seek! In a Word on the Street story from two months ago, I discussed the likelihood of this film being removed from Hallmark’s schedule due to unfinished post-production work. While this work was eventually completed, the film moved from its original release date in April to May 17th. Despite this date change, I’m thankful this movie was able to premiere at all. Because the Coronavirus has prevented Hallmark from creating new content, I appreciate the network’s attempts to adapt to the current situation.
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: A consistent strength I’ve noticed in the series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries is the quality of the acting performances! Specifically in the Aurora Teagarden series, the acting has always been a highlight! Because most of the starring cast has appeared in more than one film, it allows the actors and actresses to become comfortable in that role and help their character adapt to a particular story. One of these actors is Dylan Sloane, who portrays Aurora’s relative, Phillip. Whenever he appeared on screen, Dylan always seemed at ease in his role. With a believable performance, Dylan’s portrayal made it easier for the audience to focus on how Phillip would contribute to the mystery. Newer additions to the cast also gave memorable performances, as two standouts came from Oliver Rice and Brendon Zub! I recognize Oliver from Chesapeake Shores. Since he has had a recurring presence on that show, his role as James gave him the opportunity to adapt to a variety of situations. After seeing his performance in this film, it makes me wish Hallmark would give him a lead role. As for Brendon, I liked what he brought to his role! His character, Eric, had a good persona and fit in well with the pre-established cast of characters. I’d like to see Brendon appear in more Hallmark films!
The inclusion of history: When it comes to Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ films, history is not often included in the story. This is because most of the stories focus on the current situations going on in a specific location. Since Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Heist and Seek incorporated Elizabethan history into their script, a unique identity was given to that film. It also made the project somewhat educational. Personally, I know a limited amount of information on the Elizabethan era. After hearing the explanation behind “Leicester’s Gift”, I feel like I gained more knowledge about Queen Elizabeth. While this movie doesn’t replace a history lesson, it at least starts the conversation.
The absence of the “don’t-get-involved” cliché: There have been times in the Aurora Teagarden series where Aurora is told to not get involved in a case. She is even told this after she had successfully solved more than one mystery. In the series’ thirteenth movie, I’m glad the creative team chose to not include the “don’t-get-involved” cliché! While Lynn tells her not to get in the police’s way, Aurora is never told not to solve the mystery. In fact, there is one scene where Aurora encourages her mom to continue being the voice of reason in her life. This was such a great subversion of expectations, as it gives Aurora freedom to solve the mystery but has someone in her corner to hold her accountable. This creative choice allowed Aurora to be recognized as the intelligent yet imperfect woman that she is!
What I didn’t like about the film:
Nick’s engagement proposal: In the trailers for this movie, Nick’s attempts of proposing to Aurora were heavily emphasized. This part of the story, in the film’s marketing, was highlighted more than the plot. Personally, I think this was a creative mistake. It didn’t play as large of a role in the story as I expected. But, because it was shown in the advertising, Nick’s proposal attempts felt predictable. As soon as it was introduced in the film, I correctly predicted the outcome. The proposal’s resolution also felt predictable.
A limited amount of suspense: Suspense has a consistent presence in the mystery series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. However, some movies contain less suspense than others. This is certainly the case for Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Heist and Seek. While watching the movie, I noticed how the suspense was used sparingly. In my opinion, I like seeing a healthy amount of suspense in a mystery film. It helps the film maintain a good pace and it creates higher stakes for the story. Since this installment of the Aurora Teagarden series adopted less suspense, it almost gave the story lower stakes than usual. It also felt like the overall level of urgency was on the lower end of the spectrum.
Under-utilized clues: In my review of Mystery 101: An Education in Murder, I talked about how the clues were found in the spoken dialogue of the suspects. This was a unique creative choice that worked for that film. Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Heist and Seek chose to incorporate physical clues as well as the perspectives of the suspects. Unfortunately, the script provided an imbalance between these perspectives and the clues. This caused the suspects’ perspectives to be given more attention than the clues. The majority of the clues consisted of paper, which created a lack of variety to the types of clues that were found. If the creative team knew how the clues were being under-utilized, they should have placed the clues within the dialogue like Mystery 101: An Education in Murder.
My overall impression:
As I’ve said before on 18 Cinema Lane, the Aurora Teagarden series is one of the strongest movie series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. There are movies in this series that are better than others, but I have yet to see a movie that is bad. Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Heist and Seek was a likable addition to the series. The inclusion of history gave the project its own identity and the story subverted expectations from a familiar cliché. However, I feel there are movies that are stronger than this one. This chapter in the Aurora Teagarden story was not as suspenseful as other installments. Even though Nick proposing to Aurora progresses the overarching plot forward, it ended up being predictable because of the marketing campaign. Based on the title for the next movie, Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Reunited and It Feels So Deadly, I’m wondering if Yannick Bisson’s character, Martin, makes an appearance? If Martin returns, that would provide an interesting dynamic as Aurora plans her wedding.
Overall score: 7.3-7.4 out of 10
Have you seen the newest Aurora Teagarden movie? What do you think the next film will be about? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Before I start this Word on the Street story, I’d like remind everyone that Thursday, March 26th, is the last day to cast your vote for the Best Actress of the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The next poll will be posted on the 27th! Here is the link to the poll:
As I’ve said in a Word on the Street story from two weeks ago, the Coronavirus has delayed upcoming films and even forced some of them to reschedule their release dates. The pandemic has also caused conflicts for Hallmark. While visiting Hotline to Hallmark’s official Twitter feed, it was reported that Candace Cameron Bure was interviewed by someone from Entertainment Tonight. According to the tweet, Candace addresses her upcoming movies from the Aurora Teagarden series. This interview was conducted through video-chat, with the full interview being shown on Youtube. In this video, Katie Krause, from Entertainment Tonight, talks to Candace about how she and her family are dealing with the world’s current medical situation. Almost halfway through the interview, Katie asks Candace if any of her projects had to stop because of the Coronavirus. Candace shares that the cast and crew of the Aurora Teagarden series “were in the middle of filming a new Aurora Teagarden mystery for the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel”. Candace also reveals that they “got in one week of production” before the project was halted. Though she doesn’t reveal the title of the movie, I’m guessing that Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Reunited and It Feels So Deadly was the one that got delayed, especially since Creative B.C. lists the film’s production dates for March 9th to the 27th. Toward the end of the interview, Katie asks Candace if the upcoming film, Aurora Teagarden Mysteries:Heist and Seek was still premiering in April. While the movie, for now, is “still scheduled to air”, according to Candace, the film might get pulled from the upcoming Spring line-up. This is because, as Candace says in the video, “I, actually, still have to do some of the sound work on that movie”. Candace does say that she and the creative team behind the series are trying to find a way for her to finish the sound work on the film. However, as of late March 2020, the movie’s official page on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ website lists the premiere date as “coming soon”.
Do you think we’ll see Aurora Teagarden Mysteries:Heist and Seek premiere in April? What mystery movies are you looking forward to watching in the near future? Please tell me in the comment section.
Stay safe and healthy.
Sources for this Word on the Street story:
Type “Candace Cameron Bure: Hallmark Projects In Flux Due to Pandemic | Full Interview” into Youtube’s search bar or visit Entertainment Tonight’s Youtube channel
As the sun will soon set on the season of Summer, the sun is setting on this year’s Aurora Teagarden Month. Since I’ve reviewed the previous two films, it only makes sense to talk about the last movie, Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Very Foul Play. In my review of Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: An Inheritance to Die For, I said that I wasn’t going to get my hopes up about something I saw in the trailer for the next film. That “something” was a murder mystery play. Because I was disappointed by the murder mystery party in the aforementioned film, I figured that the murder mystery play was only going to make a brief appearance in Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Very Foul Play. Like I do with every film I see and/or review, I watched the movie with an open mind and low expectations, hoping that I would be proven wrong. Was I pleasantly surprised or proven right? Check out my review as Aurora Teagarden Month prepares to take its curtain call!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: Once again, the cast in this installment of Aurora Teagarden Mysteries was top-notch! It was great to see returning characters interact with new characters. Ever since Dylan Sloane joined the series in Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: The Disappearing Game, his character, Phillip, has become a key member in this overarching story. Through his acting talents, Dylan has become unforgettable in the community of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. The amount of believability and versatility he brought to his role in Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Very Foul Play helped me stay invested in his story as well as raise the stakes in this movie. Matthew James Dowden had such a pleasant on-screen presence in this latest film! He portrayed a new character named Robert Brown. With a healthy dose of likability, Matthew made his character favorable enough to not be too obvious in who he is or what he’s doing. What works in his favor is that he appeared in a Hallmark mystery film prior to being cast in this particular movie.
A new location: Because Aurora and her friends and family attended a Mystery & Crime Convention, the whole movie took place in an out-of-town hotel, as well as the surrounding area. From what I remember, this is the first time the Aurora Teagraden series had a film take place outside the typical small hometown and/or usual settings. Since Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Very Foul Play took place outside of Lawrenceton, it gave the story and mystery a new perspective. Even though Aurora always takes matters into her owns hands when it comes to solving the crime, she is compelled even more to find justice when a member of her family is falsely accused of the crime. This is also caused by the police force being different from the one in Aurora’s hometown. Because she doesn’t have connections with the police in this mystery, this forces Aurora to be even more resourceful than in previous films. What’s so great about Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Very Foul Play is that, with the new location, it gives this series a breath of fresh air. Even after four years and over ten films, the Aurora Teagarden series always find a way to be creative and engaging!
A sense of teamwork: In previous Aurora Teagarden films, audience members have seen various characters help Aurora solve the film’s mystery. But, as I just mentioned, all of the key characters were in a new setting. This means that they lacked some of the usual resources that they use in the series. It was harder for some more than others, especially Lynn. Instead of seeing it as a disadvantage, the characters used their surroundings to their advantage by working as a team and making the best of their situation. What helped them was having a group of people with unique talents and insight. For example, Nick Miller is a psychology professor, allowing him to think of possible motives for each suspect. Meanwhile, Arthur and Lynn are police officers, so they were able to give their perspective on the case. Seeing the camaraderie of the characters was entertaining, even when it came to characters who usually don’t get along very well. I feel that a story element like this could have only worked for an already established series.
What I didn’t like about the film:
A slower pace: It seems like in this year’s Aurora Teagarden Month, the pace has been a constant issue. It has made the movies feel slower than they should. In Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Very Foul Play, the pace caused the film to feel a little bit drawn out. One example is the part of the story where Phillip is being threatened with an arrest. Hopefully, next year’s Aurora Teagarden Month can resolve this flaw.
Some scenes being shorter than others: What I noticed while watching Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Very Foul Play is how some scenes ended up being shorter than others. An example of this is when Sally and Robert attend the victim’s funeral. Just when they were about to make a big discovery or say something important, the movie would quickly move on to the next scene. While I understand the intent for having some of these scenes be short, it felt a bit choppy within the film’s overall flow.
The “building condos” cliché: This part of the movie didn’t bother me as much as the first two points did. However, I felt that this cliché needed to be addressed. The more Hallmark movies I watch, the more I notice that whenever there’s a character who’s a contractor, architect, builder, or businessperson, they are almost always planning on putting condos into a particular neighborhood. This idea is usually met with disdain and objection. In this recent Aurora Teagarden film, one of the suspects’ plans was to purchase a piece of land in an effort to build condos on it. I’ve never understood why this cliché is incorporated into films so much. Sure, it can provide a conflict to the plot. But, in a film like Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Very Foul Play, this cliché was unnecessary.
My overall impression:
Out of all the films that premiered during Aurora Teagarden Month, Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Very Foul Play was the best one! There were a number of things that made this film good. An overarching example was having the story and mystery take place in a new location. It provided a new perspective and a breath of fresh air. The murder mystery play that I mentioned in the introduction made a satisfying appearance in the film! When it comes to the first Aurora Teagarden Month, however, I’d say that it was just fine. The first movie, Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse was decent, while Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: An Inheritance to Die For ended up being ok. On the bright side, there were no films in this line-up that were bad. The Aurora Teagarden series is now the longest running mystery movie series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries! With the series turning five years old next year, the creative team behind the Aurora Teagarden movies will have to step up their game if they want Aurora Teagarden Month to be an even bigger success. At this point, I think that everyone involved at Hallmark’s second network knows what they’re doing.
Overall score: 7.9 out of 10
What are your thoughts on Aurora Teagarden Month? Would you like to see this television event return next year? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
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!
So, it’s been five months since I last reviewed a mystery film from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (yes, you read that right). And I was surprised to discover, recently, that my review of Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: The Disappearing Game is one of my more popular reviews. Currently, it has four likes and 390 views! Because of these two factors, I decided to review all three films that will premiere during the first ever Aurora Teagarden Month! This is one of my favorite series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, so I wouldn’t pass on an opportunity to talk about these movies! The first one to air was Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse. Not only was I excited to revisit these characters, but also to see some newer faces return. What are we waiting for? Let’s begin this review of Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: The acting performances in the Aurora Teagarden series are, always, a highlight. Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse is no exception, as the entire cast did a great job with their on-screen performances! Once again, Candace Cameron Bure shines in the lead role! She helped carry the film with a likable personality and charm. I also liked seeing Niall Matter again as Nick Miller. Even though this character hasn’t appeared in the series for very long, he has already become a favorite! Supporting actors and actresses also did a wonderful job, whether they were series regulars or newcomers! Since the very beginning of the series, Ellie Harvie has portrayed Lillian Tibbett, Aurora’s co-worker at the library. She only makes limited on-screen appearances, but her performances make up for that. With enough believability, Ellie has been able to bring her character to life and give the audience the impression that Lillian is not Aurora’s biggest fan. The Aurora Teagarden series would not be the same without her.
The mystery: In almost every mystery film on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, the main mystery revolves around a murder. Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse was about a different kind of mystery; where thefts, vandalism, and danger were the key ingredients. While there was a murder associated with the story, it was not the primary focus. Enough suspects and clues allowed the audience to stay invested in the story. Incorporating Aurora’s occupation with the mystery itself was not only clever, but also showed how well-written this movie was!
The surprises: I’m not going to spoil anything for those of you who haven’t seen this movie yet. But I will say that there were a few surprises that were well executed. One of them was so effective, that it made me jump in my seat! As I’ve said, this movie was well-written when it came to the film’s mystery. I also felt this way about the surprises in this movie. This was a good way to try to help the audience stay focused on what was happening on-screen.
What I didn’t like about the film:
A slower pace: Most of the mystery films on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries have a faster pace. This is to maintain the suspense and intrigue that the mystery provides. In Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse, though, the overall pace was on the slower side. While the story itself were intriguing, the slower pace made the film feel like it was a little bit drawn out. This also made the movie seem like the suspense was very limited.
Rehashed material: There are two ongoing narratives in the Aurora Teagarden series: people disapproving of the Real Murders Club and the police not wanting Aurora to help them solve the case. I understand that things like this help a series maintain its continuity. But when this is the tenth movie in a four-year-old movie series, those narratives start to become stale. In every film, Aurora ends up solving the mystery without the help of the police. As for the Real Murders Club, the mayor of Aurora’s town became a member of the group a few movies ago. Hopefully, these narratives can be dropped or changed within the next two films.
Lack of comedy: Even though the films on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries are known for having a more serious tone than the movies on Hallmark Channel, comedy is, more often than not, incorporated into their projects. The reason for this is to give the audience some distance between the darkness of the film’s murder. The overall tone of Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse was serious, which left very little room for comedy. Sure, there were a few moments that made me chuckle. But the humor that is usually found in this series was sorely missed.
My overall impression:
As a film, Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: A Game of Cat and Mouse was decent. But, as the first movie in Aurora Teagarden Month, this was a good start! There are very few times when this series disappoints. This film definitely did not do that, as interesting creative choices were made and the story itself was thoroughly thought out. I’ve been a fan of this series since the very beginning, so I’m glad that it finally got its own month! Because I enjoyed this entry in the Aurora Teagarden story, I am looking forward to the next two installments! Based on the commercial, it looks like the eleventh movie will feature a murder mystery party. From what I remember, there hasn’t been a party like this featured in any of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ mystery films. It looks like August is shaping up to be a very fascinating time of year!
Overall score: 7.3 out of 10
What are your thoughts on the start of Aurora Teagarden Month? Are you looking forward to the next two films? Tell me in the comment section!