A shocking discovery rocks Olivia’s world in Randy Carter’s latest Lifetime thriller, “Cruise Ship Murder.” The film, inspired by true events, stars Sky Coyne as Olivia, a freelance journalist investigating the mysterious death of her beloved aunt Theresa (Ryan Carnes). As Olivia delves deeper, suspicion falls on Theresa’s husband, Ian. But is Ian truly the killer, or is there a more sinister plot at play? Buckle up for a thrilling ride as we untangle the web of secrets surrounding Theresa’s demise.

Spoilers Ahead

Cruise Ship Murder (2024) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

“Cruise Ship Murder” opens with a woman, who is a nurse by profession, coming back to her home from the hospital or clinic. She rests herself while bathing. Subsequently, the woman hears someone entering the house. She thinks that her husband has returned from work. But soon, someone else enters the bathroom, brutally killing her inside the bathtub. Later, we are introduced to Theresa and Ian. They are planning to spend a few days on a cruise, as Olivia has come to drop them off.

Olivia sees the tension on Theresa’s face so she asks her whether everything is alright or not. Theresa tells her that things have not been easy between her and Ian as she wishes to plan things accordingly during the trip. Olivia clicks their picture as they say goodbyes to each other. Theresa and Ian enter their room. The couple finds it a romantically decent timeout for themselves. Ian suffers from seasickness while Theresa is having one of her best days in life.

What Happens to Theresa?

Later that night, during dinner, Theresa sees someone suspicious in the restaurant. However, after a nice dinner, she receives a text on her phone. After reading the text, Theresa seems very nervous as she makes a drink for Ian, adding sea sickness pills so that he dozes off while she sneaks out of the room. Later, she meets a guy named Colin, with whom she used to have an affair. Theresa did not know that Colin had booked tickets for the same cruise to meet her.

Theresa tries to explain to Colin that she wants to rebuild her relationship with Ian as she feels the needs of her husband. But Colin fails to resist forcing Theresa to spend the night with him. However, an announcement is made by the cruise’s captain asking the passengers to stay inside their rooms as the weather is bad. Since the alarm bells are on, Theresa fears that this may wake Ian. She goes towards the room and immediately collides with a young woman named Sara, who is also returning to her room.

Ian wakes up from his sleep and calls Theresa, but he fails to find her in the room. He goes outside when one of the cruise workers tells him to return to his room because of the bad weather. Ian seeks help from him as he tells him that he is unable to find his wife. Soon after, Ian finds Theresa’s purse lying on the deck of the cruise. The situation makes it look like Theresa has killed herself. However, the alleged reason is still unknown to Ian.

Why does Olivia Start Doubting Ian?

Soon after Theresa’s probable suicide incident, Ian does whatever to be done to recover Theresa’s body if she is dead. Ian calls Olivia and shares the details with her. They still believe that Theresa is alive, looking for a way to contact them. However, within two or three days, Theresa’s body is recovered. The police have already identified the body with her records. Ian surrenders himself to depression. Olivia tries to look for any clue that may help her understand the whole scenario.

She comes across a journalist who tries to warn her about the situation, but Olivia ignores her completely. Right after the memorial service, Olivia meets with Theresa’s lawyer, Ellen. She tells her that they should talk in private, and it is a very important matter. Ellen tells her that Theresa is in the process of changing her will, making Olivia the sole beneficiary. However, the will was still in the process. Now that she is dead, the old will remains valid. Anyway, it becomes clear to Olivia that since Ian is about to be removed from the will, it eventually makes him a suspect since Theresa is quite rich.

Cruise Ship Murder (2024) Movie Ending Explained
A still from “Cruise Ship Murder” (2024)

Olivia starts investigating the matter on her own. She finds out that Ian has changed his title officially a long time ago. Ian’s ex-wife died as well. Olivia even checks with Ian’s previous company, as mentioned in his database. But they have no information about him whatsoever. Meanwhile, Olivia is threatened by some unknown person, and soon after, she is hit in the back by someone. Detective Scott, who is in charge of Theresa’s case, comes to meet with her in the hospital where Olivia shares everything with her about Ian.

What does Olivia learn from Cynthia’s Father?

When everyone starts believing that Ian has killed Theresa to inherit everything, Detective Scott finds his body as the crime scene suggests that Ian has killed himself. Scott tells Olivia that perhaps Ian learned that he has no way of getting out after killing Theresa, as all proof points towards him. Therefore, he has decided to end his life before the police get to him. Olivia still looks for answers as she calls Cynthia’s father, Donald. Olivia says that Ian has killed his daughter.

Donald comes to meet with Olivia. From him, she learns about Colin Barth, who used to be Ian’s friend. It has been 15 years since Cynthia was killed, which was reported as suicide. Donald thinks that Colin had helped Ian kill his daughter because of her insurance money. Olivia and her roommate Callie start thinking, if Colin was helping Ian kill his wives, why would he suddenly go rogue and kill Ian in the first place? Olivia then decides to meet with Colin personally as she starts gathering data to know his whereabouts.

Cruise Ship Murder (2024) Movie Ending Explained:

Is Olivia Able to Catch the Real Killer?

Olivia has already visited the cruise once to get information about Theresa’s death. There, she learns about an eyewitness named Sara. When she talks with Sara, she mentions that she had seen Theresa with a man that night. Olivia finds out in a social media post that Colin goes to a certain bar on a certain day of the week. Also, from the description Sara had given to Olivia, this Colin guy looks the same. She goes there and finds him drinking alone. Olivia tries her skills as a journalist to make good communication with Colin and later that night, they end up in Colin’s home.

Olivia thinks that she can easily take advantage of the situation. Colin reveals that he has known her all along, even though she used a fake name at the bar. Colin confesses that he had helped kill Cynthia to get her insurance money. After 15 years, when he required more money, he contacted Ian. He starts blackmailing Ian, and when he tells Colin that Theresa owns all the money, Colin tries to intimidate her as well. Killing Theresa was the only way to give Ian all the money so that Colin could get paid.

So, on the night of the cruise, Colin killed Theresa. Later, when Ian double-crossed him, saying that he wouldn’t be paying anything to him, Colin killed him as well. Now, when he tries to kill Olivia, she somehow manages to escape to Detective Scott. Detective Scott asks her to stay inside the house, hoping that Colin will not attack her but will try to escape. However, she sends an officer to guard Olivia throughout the night. Colin arrives at the spot and kills the officer on duty. Later, he enters the house to find an opportunity to kill Olivia.

Suddenly, Callie arrives inside the house and sees Colin looking for Olivia. Colin tries to attack Callie, but Olivia hits him with a flower vase from the back. Later, when Colin jumps on Olivia, she accidentally puts a knife through his chest, killing him on the spot. Detective Scott arrives at the scene, and knowing everything from Olivia, she understands that she had killed Colin for self-defense only. At the end of the film, we see Olivia and Callie taking a trip to the cruise to honor Theresa.

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Cruise Ship Murder (2024) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia, Letterboxd
The Cast of Cruise Ship Murder (2024) Movie: Skye Coyne, Matthew Pohlkamp, Ryan Carnes
Cruise Ship Murder (2024) Movie Runtime: 1h 30m, Genre: Mystery & Thriller

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