The Christmas Movie Question
Investigative journalist Rebecca Clark (Esme Bianco - Dead Man Running) gets a bad news phone call as her mum has passed away. Feeling guilty because their last conversation ended up in an argument Rebecca returns to her mother's home to tie up loose ends and empty it. It is during this that she uncovers 12 Christmas cards which her mother had received all signed with just a heart causing her to become curious as to who the secret admirer was who sent her mum these cards. Unable to get anywhere on her own Rebecca hires Andrew Steele (Ryan Bittle - Operation Cupcake) a charming and confident private detective who quickly discovers the cards were posted in Hadleyville leading to them making the 4 hour trip there to see what they can find out. The question is, is Steele working for Rebecca or is someone else paying him and if so why?
What makes a Christmas movie? It is an argument which is often debated as does being set at Christmas make a movie Christmas movie? If so "Die Hard" would be a Christmas movie. That argument comes in to effect when discussing "A Christmas Mystery", which also goes by the name "Secret Past", because whilst it is set at Christmas and the ending features people around a Christmas tree the fact it is Christmas is not important to the story what so ever.
What that means is in truth "A Christmas Mystery" is simply a made for TV mystery movie featuring Rebecca and Andrew trying to get to the bottom of who sent the anonymous cards to Rebecca's late mother. On top of this we have an extra mystery which involves who Andrew is working for as things don't seem quite right. Now for the non observant it may be effective as it certainly tries to keep you guessing right up until the end although it does tie everything up in what seems a remarkably rushed manner. Plus for those who like TV movies the added obvious romantic subplot between Rebecca and Andrew will be mildly entertaining although nothing special. But "A Christmas Mystery" for those who are more observant not only telegraphs something via a flashback scene but has a known actor in a role which you begin to question why before the movie even gets half way.
What this all boils down to is that "A Christmas Mystery" by virtue of being set at Christmas could be called a Christmas movie but is more of a straight forward mystery movie. It is entertaining but only when you don't pay close attention during the opening scenes or else you will have guessed one of the mysteries before the movie has really started.