Lifetime Network has a tendency to try and target young adults and teenagers with their school-centered films filled with dialogue written by people in their 50s. For the first few weeks of October, Lifetime has given us their weekend special, “Fear the Cheer.”
I don’t know what drew me into this world of low budgeted 90-minute melodramas that are more predictable than my order at Raising Cane’s. Maybe it’s the stress of online classes? My brain needed to consume something that wouldn’t take many brain cells. Though, I will give Lifetime credit when it's due. Lifetime has given us “Dance Moms,” “Married at First Sight,” those weird celebrities biographies and a few decent remakes.
To summarize Lifetime-esque movies, they are typically thriller and mysteries or melodramas with female leads. Usually, cliches and bad acting plague these movies so much that it has to have its own rating scale. There are enough Lifetime movies that there is a whole channel dedicated to showing them. Now and then, Lifetime creates a whole theme or "stunt" based around one word and uses it in every movie title.
For "Fear the Cheer," Lifetime provides its viewers with six brand new movies on the weekends centered around the outdated trope of the mean cheerleader. Titles include: “Dying to Be a Cheerleader,” "Cheer Squad Secrets,” “The Wrong Cheer Coach,” “Cheer Camp Killer,” "Cheerleader Abduction” and finally “Who Is Killing The Cheerleaders?” Not the most memorable titles, but it gets to the point.
The only new movie I ended up watching was “Dying to Be a Cheerleader.” This movie was not meant to be funny at all. However, there comes a point when everyone’s acting is so monotonous that it doesn't make sense. The main character pisses off the most popular girl in school who happens to be the head cheerleader of the Amazons, who wear their cheerleading uniforms every day. No, not just on game day, but every day. A cheerleader dies in the shower. New Girl gets blamed. Mean Girl throws a fit every five minutes. This is every movie but with a slightly different plot line.
The only thing modern about their take on the trope is having one black lead so far in the “Cheer Camp Killer.” Next, I watched “Cheer Squad Secrets,” where the adults acted like complete idiots with parents vicariously living their cheer dreams through their daughters. The scariest one so far was “Identity Theft of a Cheerleader,” where a 30-year-old woman pretends to be a teenager. Mind you, she did not look anything like a teenager or even college-aged. This movie left me wondering how no one questioned how old she looked in high school.
I sat through so many cheerleading movies the past two weekends that they all mashed together into one pleasing train wreck that got back on the rails within the last ten minutes. These movies seem like they’re written by 15-year-olds from Wattpad mixed with the dialogue of what a Boomer thinks a Gen-Z will say. Add in the ‘80s tropes that no one abides by anymore. Then, the cherry on top are the wigs straight out of a Tyler Perry movie. It is a beautiful mess.
I can’t judge Lifetime Movies the same way I do other movies; it’s simply unfair and unfit. The two stars are for effort and drama, but the plot twists are hit or miss. The writers of most of these cheerleading movies fail to extinguish the evil cheerleader versus nice girl trope. Every single movie was this on repeat.
Believe it or not, Lifetime knows what they are doing, because they aren’t flopping. According to a press release by Lifetime, its 2019 cheerleading movie, “Cheer! Rally! Kill!” movie stunted 9.8 million total viewers in their premiere telecasts. I have to give them a quarter of a star for their marketing and ability to pull fools like me in.
There’s one weekend left for the “Fear the Cheer” marathons on Lifetime before they shove in lovely, heart-warming and cheesy Christmas movies. Even though it’s not my first recommendation of what to watch this weekend, I’d only suggest it if you are incredibly bored and have a glass of wine next to you.