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Film / Killer Dream Home

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This house will be mine.

Killer Dream Home is a Made-for-TV Movie Thriller that first premiered on the Lifetime Network in March 2020. It was written and directed by Jake Helgren and produced by Autumn Federeci and their company The Ninth House.

Jules and Josh Grant (portrayed by Maiara Walsh and John DeLuca) are a happily married couple who specialise in legal property flipping. When a luxurious mansion estate in the idyllic Maple Drive neighbourhood comes onto the market they believe they've found the ideal property to make a fortune and can't believe it when estate agent Renee Rivera (Mayra Leal) informs them their offer has been accepted.

Shortly after they move into their new home interior designer Morgan Dyer (Eve Mauro) contacts the Grants to offer her services and Jules can't believe her seemingly good fortune. However their employee Bliss (Brooke Butler) and attorney neighbour Perry (Jon Klaft) become suspicious of Morgan's unusual behaviour, and it soon becomes evident their new acquaintance is a dangerous psychopath with a deadly ambition to acquire her dream house by any means necessary.


Further information can be found on the movie's IMDB page.

Killer Dream Home contains examples of:

  • Ax-Crazy: Morgan is not exactly sane to begin with, murdering Beverly and Renee before the climax, but after Josh and Jules decide to keep the house instead of selling it she truly ups the ante and goes on a murderous rampage.
  • Big Bad: Morgan Dyer, the scheming murderess who really wants her dream home.
  • Big Fancy House: 1128 Maple Drive - the 'dream home' of the title - is a lavish mansion estate complete with a guest house, home cinema, outdoor swimming pool and multiple bedrooms. And an elevator - which gets referred to many times in the movie.
  • Blackmail: Those lucky enough to avoid death at the hands of Morgan tend to fall victim to her scheming.
    • When the caretaker threatens to reveal the truth about Morgan's past, she uses a gardening tool to cut her dress, wound his arm and threatens to make a False Rape Accusation unless he vacates the property.
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    • Morgan is behind on her rent payments and her landlord - and former lover - Ivan is not willing to accept the down payment she got from Jules. Morgan promises a special perk if he defers the payment. After seducing and having sex with Ivan, Morgan discreetly takes incriminating photos and leaves them on the fridge with a note telling him she owes him nothing.
  • Blatant Lies: While Jules and Josh are a little slow on the uptake, other characters see straight through Morgan's attempts at deception.
    • Edgar knows who Morgan really is, and quickly surmises she's up to something when she claims she's merely helping with interior design.
      Edgar: Am I supposed to believe you're here by coincidence?
    • After Bliss catches Morgan attempting to force a desk drawer open the excuse is so especially lame there's an element of lampshading.
      Morgan: I was looking for a pen.
      Bliss: In a locked drawer?
    • When Perry recognises Morgan but can't quite place her, she claims they met in a bar. Perry immediately dismisses this given he tends to work late.
  • Body in a Breadbox: During the hectic finale Jules discovers Renee's corpse half-buried in a compost bin. Quite some distance from the murder scene, so presumably relocated either a scare tactic or part of Morgan's insane Frame-Up plot.
  • Cellphones Are Useless: Morgan ensures her victims can't call for help by stealing their phones beforehand.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Several examples.
    • Chekhov's Nail Gun, which makes an early appearance and plays an important role at the end.
    • Morgan is seen using a tape measure several times during the movie and holding it like a makeshift garotte on the movie poster, so it's no surprise when she uses it to strangle someone. Bliss is the unfortunate victim.
    • Morgan gets panicky and protective when Jules discovers an old file box and later attempts to break into a desk drawer (unsuccessfully thanks to Bliss' intervention). It turns out the file contains information on the home's former owner that Morgan doesn't want disclosed.
    • The elevator is mentioned many times - especially by Jules who develops an obsession - so inevitably it becomes a key location during the final confrontation.
  • Creepy Housekeeper: Resident caretaker Edgar comes across as this initially, watching Jules while holding a pair of garden shears. Given Morgan's nice girl act early on Edgar could be considered a Red Herring to people who haven't read the movie synopsis or seen a trailer. It soon becomes evident Morgan is the truly dangerous one.
  • Dark Action Girl: Morgan is relatively tall, muscular and sports several tattoos. During the climax the black-clad ponytailed psycho gets very physical and wouldn't look out of place as an action movie henchwoman.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Besides her seduction of her landlord and her pursuit of Josh, Morgan also makes a couple of comments that suggest she finds Bliss attractive (like calling her "that gorgeous creature"), though that could also just be Morgan invoking Even the Girls Want Her to make Jules jealous of Bliss.
  • Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That!: Two exact word examples.
    • While working late at her office Renee hears a noise and goes to investigate, only to bump into her assistant Desi.
      Renee: Jesus! Don't you sneak up on me like that.
    • Bliss gets this reaction after surprising Jules on the mansion staircase.
      Jules: Do not sneak up on me like that.
  • Easily-Overheard Conversation: Josh, Jules, Perry and Bliss discuss their suspicions about Morgan in private. Or so they think, except Morgan planted a listening device under a table and can hear every word.
  • Empty Elevator: Invoked when Bliss attempts to surprise Morgan by waiting for her outside the mansion's elevator. Except the murderess uses it as a distraction to sneak up behind her victim unaware and strangle her.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: Beverly thinks she's safely locked herself in the bathroom and watches the door. That's when the hooded murderess rises from her hiding place behind the bathtub.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Eve Mauro clearly relishes her role as the psycho.
    • Morgan has a tendency to make badass boasts to herself (and the audience).
      Morgan: This house will be mine.
    • Morgan develops a distinct hatred for the meddling Bliss. Eventually discretion goes out the window and she makes her feelings known to Jules.
      Morgan: I refuse to entertain your husband's lapdog.
    • When Morgan confronts Jules during the climax she outlines an elaborate and utterly barmy plot to frame her.
      Morgan: It is going to be the affair of the CENTURY! Hot blonde Bliss Leary gets caught BANGING boss Josh! Wifey Jules goes WILD, ends up bashing hubby's head in with a hammer! Then kills anxious neighbour before strangling Miss Bliss to her untimely death!
      • This occurs after Morgan attacks Josh and Perry but before she strangles Bliss exactly as described, so this could be considered a psychotic variation of Foreshadowing.
  • Evil Wears Black: To emphasise her evil nature Morgan wears an all-black outfit for the final showdown.
  • Femme Fatale: Morgan is attractive and uses that to her advantage, blackmailing her ex and driving a wedge between Jules and Josh.
  • Final Girl: No suprise Morgan and Jules confront each other at the end.
  • Foreshadowing: An early line of dialogue proves to be an accurate assessment of Morgan's character.
    Jules:: All it needs is a badass interior designer.
  • Giggling Villain: Morgan has an eerily creepy laugh which really ought to have tipped Jules and Josh off they've hired a raving lunatic.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: After the hooded Morgan surprises Beverly during the opening sequence the scene cuts to an exterior shot of the house and prerequisite loud scream. Some later events are more graphic, especially during the climax.
  • Grin of Audacity: Bliss lives up to her name, gleefully smiling after the Grants fire Morgan and kick her off their property. Maybe she shouldn't goad a psychopath.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: At the climax Jules kills Morgan with her own nail gun.
  • Implied Death Threat: After overhearing an answerphone message from the suspicious Renee and discovering someone has gone through her possessions Morgan makes a deadly insinuation - while elegantly dressed and sipping wine.
    Morgan: Looks like we have moles all over the place don't we? Guess I'm going to have to bury them.
  • Improvised Weapon: Many examples - even by Lifetime movie standards.
    • Morgan specalises in them. Over the course of the eighty minute runtime she uses a garden fork to slice Edgar's arm, Renee's own letter opener to backstab her, a hammer to attack both Josh and Perry and a tape measure to strangle Bliss.
    • Ironically Morgan doesn't use her nail gun to actually kill anyone, only to threaten the nosy Bliss.
      • Jules does use the weapon to kill Morgan though.
    • When Morgan attacks Jules, Josh and Bliss in the mansion the would-be victims grab whatever they can to defend themselves. This includes a fire poker and a rather unhelpful ash sweeper.
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: By the end of the movie Jules and Josh are probably wishing they chose another home to flip.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Morgan (Dark) is manipulative, scheming, sexually aggressive and inclined to violence, acting as a foil for Genki Girl Jules and Tomboy Bliss (both Light).
  • Make It Look Like an Accident:
    • After Morgan kills Beverly she stages the crime scene to make it appear her victim had a fatal accidentally fall in the bathroom. The actual staging is not shown, but revealed later through dialogue.
    • Morgan stages an accident with a step ladder in an attempt to blackmail Jules and Josh. It doesn't stop them from firing her - and setting the deadly climax in motion.
  • Market-Based Title: Before release the working title was The Wrong Address. And according to IMDB the alternate international title is Murder Mansion.
  • Mask of Sanity: Morgan comes across as pleasant, if a bit intense, when she first starts working for the Grants, but her true psycho nature slowly starts coming out.
  • The Mistress: Morgan had an affair with the home's previous owner Don Maples. An early line of dialogue hints at this.
    Morgan: I was very in love at one point. But he got really sick and now he's gone. Love might find me again one day, but if not a really great house will do.
  • Motive Rant: Every psycho villainess needs one, and Morgan 'explains' her reasons to Jules during the final confrontation.
    Morgan: He was going to leave this house to me when he died. I loved him, and he left everything to his selfish wife. And now you're trying to take what's mine!
  • Mr. Fanservice: John Deluca has a number of topless scenes in the movie. In case that's not enough for those so inclined, Kayvon Esmaili (who plays creepy landlord Ivan) gets one too.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Eve Mauro is a fashion model, and gets the opportunity to show off her athletic, well-toned body during a wet swimsuit scene.
    • Maiara Walsh, Brooke Butler and Mayra Leal also get plenty of chances to look attractive in flattering outfits over the course of the movie.
  • Nail 'Em: Morgan possesses one - and clearly not for the intended purpose.
    • Morgan fires a warning nail at Bliss after the employee sticks her nose in. Quickly followed by a flimsy and obviously fake apology for the almost deadly 'accident'.
    • When things get heated Morgan is seen wandering around the hallway holding the nail gun and her trusty tape measure.
    • Appears one final time during the climax when Jules uses it to finally dispose of Morgan.
  • Never One Murder: As usual for Ninth House productions, quite a few cast members bite the dust before the end.
  • Not Quite Dead: Josh and Perry appear to suffer fatal blows from the hammer wielding Morgan, but both turn out to be alive. Particularly surprising in Perry's case given he's a minor character who most viewers would expect to die.
  • Offing the Annoyance: Morgan clearly enjoys it when she outwits Bliss and strangles her.
  • Product Placement: Morgan and Josh drink Corona beer in one scene. Since this movie debuted around the time the COVID-19 Pandemic was flaring up in America, many observers noted that the timing wasn't the greatest for a Corona promotion.
  • Raincoat of Horror: Morgan wears a blood red raincoat when breaking, entering and killing. Until the final confrontation when she decides it's no longer necessary.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Appearing in the opening sequence of a Lifetime thriller can be hazardous to one's health. Here Beverly Maples gets to wander around scared and utter a few lines before being she's promptly seen off by the hooded psycho.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Genre Savvy viewers can figure out fairly early on that Bliss will get murdered by Morgan, but the film teases the audience by delaying the murder until the final few minutes.
  • She Knows Too Much: Morgan kills Renee because she's found out that Morgan is scheming to get back into the house.
  • Surprise Party: One fake scare has Jules' family and friends surprise her with an anniversary party.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: The somewhat out of place ending - considering the murder spree that just happened - has Jules telling Josh she's pregnant and the couple embracing.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Bliss (Tomboy) is described as a "guy's girl" by Jules, into things like sports and tequila (though she was also a cheerleader in high school). Jules (Girly Girl) is more into things like design and likes to wear bright colors.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Several late in the movie, especially since Jules and company know Morgan's well and truly crazy by that point.
    • Helpful neighbour Perry offers to call the police when Jules discovers the truth about Morgan, but she turns him down. In fact nobody contacts the police.
    • Stupidity must be contagious since Perry approaches Morgan and attempts to reason with her despite the fact she's dressed all in black, acting completely psycho and holding a hammer.
    • Despite knowing Morgan is in the house, Jules and Bliss split up more than once. Jules gets away with it, but stupidity is the death of Bliss.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Jules, Josh and Bliss are portrayed as typical suburban Americans early on, but they're definitely not squeamish when backed into a corner and defend themselves admirably against the psychotic killer.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The Lifetime preview is something of a mixed bag.
    • Despite being under half a minute long many scenes from the final showdown feature, including Morgan attacking a major character with a hammer.
    • Subverted since Josh lives. And the murders of Beverly and Bliss are not shown. Also a white-dressed woman being stabbed in the back by the gloved murderess is not identifiable as Renee.
  • Voiceover Letter: Morgan's threatening letter to her landlord is read out by actress Eve Mauro for the audience's benefit.
  • Wham Line: When Jules visits former housekeeper Florence to enquire about Morgan's past the connection to the house's former owner is revealed.
    Florence: She's no interior designer. She's an executive assistant. Before Don got sick he was having an affair with her
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Morgan blackmails Edgar into leaving the estate he's never seen again. Jules and Josh later discover the guest house empty, and we never find out what happened to him. He's still important to the story, because a voicemail message Renee leaves on his old phone lets Morgan know that the Grants and Bliss have been investigating her (and leads Morgan to kill Renee).
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Morgan is forced to adjust her scheming to get the house several times. The initial plan seems to be to break up the Grant marriage, first by manipulating Jules into thinking that Josh is sleeping with Bliss, then when that doesn't work, seducing Josh herself. When that fails, Morgan plans to sue them after a staged on-the-job accident, but they call her bluff. Then when the Grants decide to keep the house for good, Morgan finally goes over the edge and plots to kill Josh, Bliss and Perry and frame Jules.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Jules calls Morgan's bluff when she holds herself and Bliss at gunpoint late on, claiming the weapon would be traced back to its owner if used. Her ploy works, but that doesn't stop Morgan firing a warning shot.