Written by Sophie Tilson and Shanrah Wakefield
Directed by Matthew Leutwyler
Just when you thought Lifetime was all out of ways to make you think the internet was coming to kill you, Lifetime reminds you that there are a bajillion new apps that have been made in the past decade, each and every one easily turned into a cautionary tale of how it will destroy you. Today’s Awful App is Tinder, or “Swipe” as it’s known in Wrong Swipe, as a crazed “Swipe” stalker turns the life of our heroine upside down.
Wrong Swipe could have been a discussion about hookup culture, apps replacing actually going out and meeting people, and even throwing in stuff about how some people are so overworked that a personal life is a luxury. There is even a few bits where they directly point out the league of men who think that just because they were swiped on an app they deserve attention and love from the women, including multiple pressure to go out on dates. But all of that is either tossed aside or completely ignored as Lifetime had to go Lifetime it all up with stalking and murder.
Anna Taylor (Anna Hutchison) is a woman who doesn’t have time for dating because she’s in law school. So it’s the perfect time for her sister Sasha (Karissa Lee Staples) to force her into dating by installing the Swipe app on her phone! Heck, Sasha reconnected with her high school boyfriend, Matt (Rhys Ward), thanks to the app. Anna isn’t on good terms with her ex, Nate (Kevin Joy), but she’s still not thrilled about this new dating app. Especially when it suddenly starts giving her GPS notifications that a “Swipe crush” is nearby. The first one is a kid in her class, Todd (Blake Berris), who is awkward and creepy. There’s also a mysterious stalker account sending her messages about how they are destined for each other. Even worse, she does meet up with a high school acquaintance named Jake (Arthur Napiontek), and he tries to spike her drink! Luckily, she had to bail before the drug kicked in. But let’s forget about all those danger situations, because she’s also met a Nice Guy named Pete (Philipp Karner) and things are going swell.
Until Pete is murdered by her crazed stalker! Damn, Tinder! Anna was already being paranoid about the stalker, this turns her into paranoid overdrive, not trusting anyone, because the stalker could be anyone! Anyone male, that is. Thankfully, the film gave us several suspects instead of just two, so even though the final reveal was a little too Lifetime twist for me, the fact there was a wider selection of possible stalker guys made the film a better piece of internet flavored stranger danger junk than the usual suspects.
Anna is partially paranoid because (as we see in the intro) her father was murdered by a random carjacker, which turned her mom into an agoraphobe who hasn’t left her house in years. Anna has to take care of her mom and Sasha, all while Sasha speaks in random internet vocabulary such as starting sentences with “Goggle translate:” or saying “hashtag” before words. Despite that, Anna and Sasha obviously love each other and spend time together and have their best interests at heart, but Sasha also insults her mom for not getting over her husband being murdered. Basically the family dynamic has to be skewed enough to allow Anna to be stressed out and busy, but not so stressed out she doesn’t have someone to talk to about her problems.
Some of the dating issues Anna runs into are so real they were probably plucked from the experiences of writers Sophie Tilson and Shanrah Wakefield, which makes the fact those points had to take a back seat to the stalking paranoia a bigger shame, I bet they could have threw in some more ridiculous dangers that you’re more likely to encounter in reality. The GPS thing is one of those features that sounds cool unless you’ve been in a situation where it becomes a bad thing, and it was neat seeing the feature suddenly become a danger sonar. Anna’s reluctance to block the stalker just in case it was her ex-boyfriend was one of those things that is annoying, but I can’t get too angry at it because besides moving the plot forward, stuff like that happens in real life all the time. Probably the most random Lifetime thing in the movie was Anna suddenly getting her dad’s gun, and informing us that she knows how to use it because dad taught her before he died. Sasha doesn’t like the gun, but she obviously also knows how to use it (though her previously shown clumsiness would be a good guess as to why dad didn’t teach her as much as Anna!)
Overall the film was a pretty Lifetimeish Lifetime flick, fans of those movies will enjoy while anyone else will probably be bored. It didn’t break the boundaries of its position, and even left a few loose ends lying around that I thought would factor into the ending, but didn’t. As I love this stuff, I can honestly say there are plenty of worse Lifetime films to waste two hours on, so if you want to see a tale of internet trouble, Wrong Swipe is something you should definitely swipe right on (unless you are using “Swipe”, which means you should swipe up on. Hey, I didn’t make the fake app from Wrong Swipe, don’t look at me like that!) At least we got a bunch of awesome screengrabs of Karissa Staples.
Tinder is bad, mm’kay? That’s why you should use Grindr. Unless Lifetime makes a movie about that…
Rated 6/10 (logo, car jackin’, don’t enable push notifications!, law professor of the maybe a harasser kind, app stalker profile pic, the cop who can’t help)
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