Zephyr Springs (A.K.A. Deadly Spa, A.K.A. A Deadly Game) (2013)
Directed by Marita Grabiak
Written by Kraig Wenman
Produced by Michael M. McGuire, Sage Scroope, Johnny Whitworth, Timothy O. Johnson, Kraig Wenman
Starring Amy Pietz, Tracey Fairaway, Johnny Whitworth, Charles Fathy, Kelly Curran, Jonathan Decker, Mauricio Mendoza, Sonia Darmei Lopes, Melissa Nearman
Routine activities conducted by a cloistered, comfortable, cheaply appointed therapeutic resort’s owner and host (Whitworth), his enforcer (Fathy), and manager (Curran) seem demanding: hikes, meditations, archery, seminars, soirees, pernicious programming of patrons to ease their cozenage, and occasional murders of wayward staff and guests who can’t appreciate the self-help guru’s least enlightened agenda. At a second glance, this docket’s difficulty is decreased by the dumb trust of certain gulls, such as a single mother (Pietz) who’s entranced by the unctuous therapist’s blandishments during a pricey trip to his sinister spa with her prematurely dowdy daughter (Fairaway), who chances upon malfeasance beneath the operation’s lofty veneer. Not so noxious as much of the other wastewater piped by Johnson Production Group to Lifetime’s sewer, this underwhelming psycho-thriller suffers from Grabiak’s inconsistent continuity and senselessly skewed establishing shots, editor Tyler MacIntyre’s surplus cuts, and amusing, abundant absurdities in Wenman’s screenplay. Maternally and filially typecast Pietz and Fairaway shriekingly tread water opposite mumbly Whitworth, who’s decidedly unimpressive as either a seducer of cougars or a malevolent mastermind. Only the most tippled of bibulous yogamoms may unironically like this.