If there’s one thing you can’t help but appreciate about Lifetime movies, it’s their shocking consistency in serving up convincing mysteries. Without taking anything away from the shoddy performances and the invariably atrocious editing that make taking the films seriously quite a challenge, I have to admit that these mysteries pack quite a punch, with compelling distractions keeping you occupied until it’s time for the big reveal. The same is the case with Lifetime’s latest crime thriller, Danger Lurking Under My Roof, which elevates the perils of having sketchy strangers living too close to home and turns a woman’s picture-perfect family life upside down.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
Roxanne’s a bit of a control freak. And by that, I mean she genuinely sees nothing wrong with micromanaging her daughter Macie to the extent that she’s become inherently wary of sharing the slightest detail of her personal life with her mother. Her husband, Mark, forever has his face buried in work and, therefore, can’t afford to concern himself with how his household is running. Now that Macie’s about to go off to law school and make her parents proud, Roxanne’s truly content with how life has treated her. She does take an active interest in Mark’s work. So much so that she’s agreed to let him build a house in their garden where they’d host a needy family as a part of his special project at work. But playing the part of the supportive wife comes at a cost. Before she can even get herself fully comfortable with the idea of hosting complete strangers uncomfortably close to her home, Mark gives her half a day’s notice and drops the bomb on her that a family of a single mother and her teenage daughter will be moving into the tiny home the very next day. Roxanne abides at first. But from the get-go, there’s been some unspoken tension brewing between her and her new neighbors, Ella and her daughter, Lucy.
What Stands Between Roxanne And Ella Getting Along?
It’d be easy to label Ella ungrateful when all she demands, and rightfully so, is some privacy in a place that’s supposed to be her home. Not knowing where to draw the line, Roxanne repeatedly sticks her nose where it doesn’t belong, and that understandably doesn’t sit right with Ella. While Lucy and Macie, being girls of the same age and with similar interests, find it easy to click right away, Roxanne’s repeated intrusions and Ella’s standoffish personality hardly make for a pair of friendly neighbors. But there’s a reason why Ella’s hell-bent on staying off the radar, which becomes a rather hard task to achieve with Roxanne posting her new home on her mood board. Since our introduction to Ella and Lucy, we’ve known that they are on the run from someone who poses a threat to their well-being. But frankly, Ella shouldn’t have to have a problem this severe in order for her host to show her the courtesy of respecting her boundaries. And boundaries are not something that Roxanne prioritizes in her shortsighted, compulsive drive to ingratiate herself with others.
What Does Roxanne Accuse Lucy Of?
Fortunately, in the case of Roxanne and Macie, the apple has fallen quite far from the tree. It’s not just her rebellious teenage spirit that separates Macie from her slightly snobbish mother; Macie’s the kind of girl who gives people a fair shot and doesn’t write them off right away. However, her relationship with a school drop-out guitar player who’s clearly up to no good is something that can certainly be chalked up to her desire to break the pattern that her parents have set for her. Despite having her daughter’s best interests at heart, Roxanne does come on a bit too strong and a bit too often. And that’s a foolproof way to make a teenager pull away even further. When Lucy’s encouragement gives Macie a nudge to defy her mother’s unreasonable expectations of her, and she gets her nose pierced, Roxanne’s quick to label Lucy a bad influence.
Lucy and her mother are having a hard enough time getting used to the highbrow neighborhood crawling with snobs ready to cut them down to size. If it weren’t for Macie and their other neighbor, Sasha, Lucy would’ve been extremely uncomfortable living in a place where she’s constantly made to feel unwelcome. Things take a turn for the worse for both families when Roxanne finds her house repeatedly broken into and even sees Lucy walking out after claiming that she’d seen a man snooping around. It was the same man, Mark’s business associate with a smile that screams creepy, who’d been a bit too cozy with Macie at the country club. But now that Roxanne’s had some of her jewelry stolen and even Macie’s diary has gone missing, they’re increasingly wary of continuing the tiny home living situation and are unable to find it in their hearts to give Lucy and Ella the benefit of the doubt. And when Macie goes missing, Lucy’s the first person Roxanne’s quick to accuse.
How Do Roxanne And Ella Find Their Daughters?
Roxanne hasn’t been on her best behavior with the family she’d promised to help shelter. And Mark, the man behind the project that set this entire ordeal in motion in the first place, has been of no help. Other than his lukewarm assurances and cold dismissal, Roxanne got practically no emotional support, let alone any assistance in easing into the big change, from her husband. And that doesn’t change, even with their daughter going missing. The frantic mother understandably blames the only person she and her daughter have recently had conflicts with. And even though her accusations aren’t really supported by any meaty proof, considering her emotional state, Ella and Lucy do cut her a reasonable amount of slack. With the police and her own husband being of no help, Roxanne is practically grasping at straws, trying to figure out where her daughter might be.
It only seems to make her anxiety worse when he finds a stack of photographs of Macie in her room, which suggests Macie was being stalked. Granted, it’s her own authoritative nature and blatant disregard for Macie’s likes and dislikes that have compelled her daughter to become detached. But it can’t be easy for a mother to begin finding out about her teen’s life out in the big wide world when she has no idea where her daughter might be or if she’s even safe. When Roxanne gets a threatening call from a stranger, and instead of comforting her, Mark once again prioritizes his work, she only has one person she can turn to. Despite harboring quite a bit of resentment toward Roxanne, as a mother, Ella recognizes the necessity of supporting another in such a time of crisis.
Without wasting a moment, she dials up her contacts and locates the source of the threatening call that Roxanne received. When it rains, it pours. And Roxanne’s string of bad luck doesn’t relent with her daughter’s being AWOL. Before she can even process the news of her husband’s accident, her heart is shattered by Sasha’s admission of the affair she was having with Mark. Yet, if anything, the sheer urgency of the situation is what keeps her morale up at such a time of crisis when she’s just had the illusion of a perfect life smashed into pieces. She doesn’t have the time to mourn her marriage with Mark when her daughter is in danger, and Lucy also seems to have gone missing. Using the information that her contacts have sent her way, Ella accompanies Roxanne to a faraway, disconnected location, only to find out that both of their daughters have been taken hostage by the same person, Mark’s business associate, John. Rescuing their daughters safely does come as a massive relief to them both, but Roxanne’s plight is yet to come to an end. Her world comes tumbling down when she learns that she’s been living a lie all along.
Mark’s a big-time crook whose list of crimes exceeds anything Roxanne could ever imagine in her worst nightmares. Not only has his entire tiny home project been a way for him to squeeze money out of desperate people battling difficult circumstances, but he’s also partly mixed up with John’s human trafficking business. When extorting Ella and selling Roxanne’s jewelry didn’t raise enough funds to pay off what he’d owed to John, his daughter was kidnapped and about to be trafficked. Instead of coming clean about his sketchy activities and seeking the help of the law, Mark kidnaps Lucy and tries to get Macie back in exchange for another girl. During Danger Lurking Under My Roof‘s ending, Roxanne exhibits immense courage in the face of the horrific trauma and Mark’s attempts at manipulating her into forgiving him. It was the family of a mother and daughter, whom Roxanne had a considerable amount of trouble trusting, who stood by her side when her own husband turned out to be far from reliable. Ella’s had her own experience battling an abusive marriage, and it’s her ex-husband that she’s been on the run from. This might be one of the few times that a Lifetime film’s signature happy ending doesn’t seem forced or unconvincingly convenient.
Ella and Roxanne’s dynamic and individual gifts have been established throughout the narrative in such a way that it’s believable that they’d help each other overcome their shortcomings. It’s only normal that Roxanne, being someone who truly does love hosting and creating a homey environment for people, would continue with the tiny home project with Ella’s help. She also seems to have acknowledged and worked on her issues with personal space and boundaries, and she has found a way to be sweet without smothering her new neighbor with her intrusive nature. And if anything, facing her fears while fighting off John and rescuing Lucy and Macie has ignited in Ella the kind of self-confidence that has helped her curb her anxiety over facing her ex-husband should he make the mistake of tracking her down.