Murder in Eden
Everyone in Haverhill, Vermont thought that the Hayward family were the living version of a Norman Rockwell painting, that is until George Hayward (Graham Abbey) reportedly strangled his wife Alice (Sonya Salomaa) before turning a gun on himself leaving their daughter Kate (Samantha Munro) an orphan. As Detective Catherine Benincasa (Anna Gunn) starts investigating she shocked to learn that Alice had kicked George out for physically abusing her having only just let him move back. But she is doubly shocked when her best friend hinted about Alice's friendship with Pastor Steven Drew (John Stamos) was more than pastoral. It causes Catherine to make Drew her top suspect especially when Drew exhibits some strange behaviour.
A magician will distract you by doing something with his left hand whilst secretly doing something with his right when you are not paying attention. That is what "Secrets of Eden" wants to do; it wants you to follow the story as Detective Catherine Benincasa becomes convinced that the charming Pastor Drew may be the killer due to a suggested deeper relationship with Alice Hayward. And for the casual movie fan it does a nice job of slowly presenting the case so it is framed to make you think that Drew is the murderer especially as Benincasa's boss is more focused on how things will look to the voters if one of his detectives goes after the Pastor for murder.
In fact director Tawnia McKiernan doubly tries to distract you with an intentionally jumbled storyline as Secrets of Eden slips in and out of flashback mode. It works to confuse and certainly to distract but it doesn't work well in establishing the back story because it is such a jumble and doesn't present any form of a consistent timeline to connect the series of events leaving you wondering whether one scene came before another or not.
Now I have been going on about distraction a lot and I am sure there will be those who spot the obvious element which presents it self before the opening credits of Secrets of Eden have finished. And sadly by ignoring one obvious line of investigation the movie makes it obvious what the truth is when it comes to what happened in the Hayward home that night. Although whilst you can guess who did it you can't be sure exactly what the ending of "Secrets of Eden" will be.
What this all boils down to is that "Secrets of Eden" is a solid and typical made for TV thriller, the sort of movie with a good looking cast which makes it easy on the eye. For those who have watched their fair share of made for TV thrillers the mystery is sadly not there but it is still sort of entertaining.