I don't think there has ever been a movie with a more quintessentially Lifetime title than Fatal Memories. It's a good thing then that the channel known for its wonderfully melodramatic, cheesy, and suspenseful films picked up the thriller and will be airing it Saturday night. Of course, many of those TV movies are adaptations of shocking tales ripped straight from the headlines, so does that mean Fatal Memories is based on a true story?
Well, that is one signature quality Fatal Memories doesn't possess, as the network's new movie does not appear to be based on a true story. And that's actually a relief, because the narrative is pretty disturbing. The film tells the story of a woman named April who is the leading suspect for the murder of her mother, but April has no recollection of the incident due to memory loss brought on by emotional trauma. Sutton believes her sister is innocent, but she isn't so sure about that when some strange events take place upon April's release from a mental hospital. She realizes that she has to get April to remember what happened when their mother was murdered so that they can catch the real killer once and for all.
Yikes. I don't even think "yikes" is even a strong enough word to describe what a bad situation all of that is. However, Fatal Memories isn't the first time we've seen a thrilling story like this in a movie or a TV show. In fact, Hollywood loves to feature protagonists that can't remember the details of a murder or other sordid details of their lives, probably because these types of stories keep viewers on the edge of their seats and mess with their minds as well.
In case Fatal Memories doesn't fully quench your thirst for seeing some murder and memory loss on screen, here are six more movies and TV shows with similar plots that should do the trick. And yes, there are some MAJOR SPOILERS ahead.
1. Spellbound (1945)
You know this type of film is right up Alfred Hitchcock's alley, so it's no surprise that the legendary thriller auteur incorporated this plot device in 1945's Spellbound. In the movie, a man poses as the psychologist he has no recollection of murdering while another psychologist, who just happens to be his love interest, works to prove his innocence. Spellbound also stars Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman in the lead roles, so at least you still get some old-school Hollywood glamour with this trippy plot.
2. Fatal Memories (1992)
Believe it or not, the movie premiering on Lifetime wasn't the first to be titled Fatal Memories. A fellow TV movie with the same title came before it in 1992. This film starring Shelley Long in the lead role was based on the true story of Eileen Franklin, a 1990 case that turned repressed memory into a controversial topic.
3. Memento (2000)
Inception wasn't the first Christopher Nolan movie to make you question everything that was happening on screen. The famous British director did that first with Memento, which follows a man without short-term memory as he tries to track down his wife's murderer, her death being the last thing he remembers. Memento's innovative storytelling showed that Nolan's is one name that would be remembered long after the credits rolled.
4. Shutter Island (2010)
Based on the 2003 best-selling novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane, Shutter Island is not what it seems from the trailers for the film. It turns out that Leonardo DiCaprio's character is not a U.S. marshal, but a murderer who has been encouraged to take part in this role play by his psychiatrist in the hopes that it will help his mental issues. It doesn't end up working, and in the end, he is forced to get a lobotomy. You know, just another feel-good movie from Leo.
5. Unforgettable (2011-Present)
Poppy Montgomery stars as Carrie Wells, an NYPD police detective who has a rare medical condition that allows her to remember everything, except what happened the day her sister was murdered. Carrie's quest to remember that day is the major through line in this police procedural, which was cancelled by CBS twice and then picked up by A&E, who will air the show's 13-episode fourth season later this year. I guess no one was ready to fuhgeddaboudit just yet.
6. Before I Go To Sleep (2014)
There's always room for a Nicole Kidman flick on any list of thrillers, and this one's also got Colin Firth, which is a major bonus. In the movie, which is based on a 2011 S.J. Watson novel of the same name, Kidman plays a woman who suffers from a brain injury that prevents her from remembering anything that happened after her early 20s. So, every time she wakes up, she can't remember a thing that happened before she went to sleep. Oh, is that where they got the title of the film from? Clever. During the course of the movie, Kidman's character encounters a ton of wild revelations about her life that she had no choice but to forget. Let's just say that everything that could have gone wrong in this woman's life, did.
We'll have to see just what goes wrong in April's life when Fatal Memories premieres.
Image: Reel One Entertainment