9 Out of 10 Cliches
Having retired from the Boston Police force, following a tough case, Helen Clayton (Emmanuelle Vaugier - Stolen Child) and her husband, Mike (Richard Ruccolo), along with their daughters, Emma (Eva Link) and youngest Kate (Ella Ballentine - Standoff), move to a beautiful house in a small town. And they are shocked when they learn the house has been empty for almost a decade, from their neighbour Arnold (Jonathan Potts - Candles on Bay Street) who looks after his father Victor (Johni Keyworth). But it seems like they are not going to be able to settle as Kate has started talking to an imaginary friend called Clara, doors seem to be opening on their own, people give Helen and her family strange looks when they see where they live and much to Kate's annoyance she learns that 20 years ago a girl died falling from the tree house in the garden. Despite being retired Helen decides to investigate the house's past to try and uncover what has been going on so that they can lay what ever ghosts there are too rest even though others warn her about previous residents just disappearing along with a number of unsolved crimes in the town.
Be wary of male neighbours who bring you meals when you first move in to a new house as 9 out of 10 times they tend to be psychos or at least that appears to be the case when it comes to made for TV movies. Also if you are suspicious of your neighbour and decide to snoop around in their house when they go out don't bother because 9 out of 10 times they will return before you have finished snooping. I could keep on going as years of watching TV movies have made me well aware of various cliches including one involving children hiding in closets and that when you are a female detective the chances are your hair will always look perfect even if you are in a fight.
That brings me to "Clara's Deadly Secret" which is riddled with these cliches including one about people don't die immediately when they fall from great heights over a banister. And that means that sadly, despite the lovely Emmanuelle Vaugier starring, this ends up a tedious movie which you can guess who the bad guy is the second you lay eyes on them. I wish I could say it was different but there is little to this movie that any fan of TV movies won't have come across before including when it comes to the creepy goings on in the house.
But what I will say about "Clara's Deadly Secret" is that in the midst of the cliche, and the typical when it comes to the performances, there is one thing which stands out. In fact there are a couple of moments which stand out and director Andrew C. Erin handles a couple of shock moments, when something happens when you don't expect it, quite brilliantly. And whilst for the most the camera work is as typical as everything else these two moments really stand out.
What this all boils down to is that "Clara's Deadly Secret" is one of those seen it all before movies as every bit of it is typical especially when it comes to made for TV movies. But that just means that "Clara's Deadly Secret" is straight down the middle average, a distraction whilst you do other things but not the sort of movie which you will feel is demanding of your full attention.