Crazy Like a Cheerleader's Mum
When Wanda Holloway (Lesley Ann Warren - Clue) moved back to her home town she quickly became friends with neighbour, Verna Heath (Tess Harper - In the Line of Duty: Siege at Marion), as their daughters were of the same age and at the same school. With Verna's daughter, Amber (Lauren Woodland), trying out for a cheerleaders spot Wanda encourages her daughter, Shanna (Olivia Burnette), to do the same and becomes jealous when Shanna loses out to Amber for a cheerleader spot. Her jealousy increases as she feels the whole of the community is conspiring against her and her daughter till she decides to contact her ex brother-in-law, Terry (William Forsythe - Out for Justice), to hire a hitman to kill Verna so that an upset Amber will drop out of the cheerleading squad, freeing up a place for Shanna.
"Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story" is a shocking movie because it is based on a true story and the thought that a mum could become so jealous and deluded that she would try and arrange for another mother to be killed over a position in a cheerleading squad is outrageous. But as I said "Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story" is based on a true story and it is certainly an entertaining movie although a movie which for me seems at times to be a bit over the top.
Like many made for TV movies, which are inspired by true stories, "Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story" starts with Wanda appearing in court on trial for soliciting murder but then it jumps back to eight years earlier when Wanda meets Verna and just as quickly sprints through to where her jealousy starts. Now this is entertaining as when Wanda first meets Verna she is reserved and a little timid but as the story progresses she becomes increasingly confident and opinionated. And we also see how she becomes more jealous and deluded, in fact she becomes furious when Verna manages to get her daughter a try out despite being at a private school and then becoming convinced that Verna is pulling strings to conspire against her.
It comes to the point where Wanda crosses over going from confident to crazy as she approaches her brother-in-law to arrange a hit but clever enough to cover her trail so there is no proof that she arranged it. Now I will stop there as whilst it is easy to find out the true story on which "Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story" is based some mystery is nice to have.
In truth "Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story" is entertaining for two reasons firstly because of the outrageous nature of the story but also because of Lesley Ann Warren's performance as Wanda. But for me it is entertaining because it borders on the over the top as Warren makes Wanda extremely deluded to the point of almost being comically psychotic in her extreme moments of irrational behaviour. Maybe if the rest of the cast which includes Tess Harper and William Forsythe had been so extreme it would have felt right but it is still an entertaining performance.
What this all boils down to is that "Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story" is certainly an outrageous and entertaining movie but more because of the outrageous nature of the true story and for me what is an over the top performance from Lesley Ann Warren.