What’re You Watching Tonight? How ‘Bout a Movie?

I probably shouldn’t admit it, but one of the reason I enjoy shows signing off for the mid-season (other than a little breathing room for my reviews — I haven’t even been able to keep up this fall) is the TV movies that start airing. And I’m already hearing about a good number coming at the end of this month and early next.

Lifetime’s new movie Jodi Picoult’s Salem Falls premieres tonight. Based on a book, it’s a bit of a twist on what you know of witches and sex offenders.

Does that grab your attention? Well, here’s the description of the movie:

Former teacher Jack McBradden moves to Salem Falls after a student’s crush led to false accusations and a wrongful conviction for sexual assault. He finds a job and settles into a new routine, but everything turns when a trio of teenage girls with dark secrets (lead by manipulative Gillian Duncan) maliciously target Jack with accusations of assaulting Gillian in the woods. Now at the center of a modern day witch-hunt, Jack must once again proclaim his innocence to a town searching for answers and the woman who has come to love him.

This movie first piqued my interest because of the cast. Somehow, Lifetime has successfully picked my pocket of all TV genres and created a cast from guilty pleasures: Dawson’s Creek obsession, new sci-fi, and teen bop. Leading the group is James Van Der Beek, who plays Jack. Playing his love interest Addie is Sarah Carter, who I’m quickly falling in love with myself in Falling Skies. Let’s just say that she plays the troubled woman well. Finally, you’ve got AJ Michalka of Aly & AJ fame, who plays Jack’s teenage fan, who is really causing all the trouble.

But really, I’m surprised how intrigued I was by the movie. While, sure, it seemed a little fast-paced (Jack and Addie seem to fall in love rather quickly, considering the circumstances) and the witchcraft is a little too The Crucible (see picture above for proof), I genuinely wanted to know what would happen with Jack. In fact, you really started wondering who really is telling the truth and who the real liar is. If anything, you’re surprised that you’re rooting for a convicted sex offender — and even after you start questioning his innocence.

So consider checking it out. It may not be Breaking Dawn or The Descendants, but it did entertain.

Jodi Picoult’s Salem Falls premieres tonight at 8/7c on Lifetime.

*images from Lifetime Television

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