Lifetime Review: 'Into the Arms of Danger'
AlexAnn Hopkins shines in this intense thriller as a young woman fighting to escape a twisted family's clutches.
With her father's death still weighing on her mother's mind, college bound teen Jenny Monroe (AlexAnn Hopkins) finds herself contending with Laura's (Laurie Fortier) desperate attempts to keep her daughter safe. So with Laura out of town, Jenny takes the opportunity to go to a concert. But on the way there, a tense phone call with her mother gets Jenny into an accident, with an ambulance quickly arriving.
But rather than providing her aid, Jenny finds herself drugged and kidnapped by the two EMTs--who later reveal themselves as the sons of a woman driven mad by her daughter Lizzy's disappearance, driving her sons to abduct Jenny as a replacement. As Jenny fights to escape and contend with her deranged captors, Laura searches for her daughter after finding the police quick to label Jenny as a runaway. Will Jenny be able to escape the clutches of this unhinged family alive?
When it comes to Lifetime's common movie themes, Into the Arms of Danger's plot falls under the category of "A Parent's Worst Nightmare", with a more general dash of paranoia fuel added for spice (presenting a situation in which a 911 call could lead to you being held captive by a bunch of psychopaths). Both premises are ripe for drama and tension, and Into the Arms of Danger combines both to make a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The tension is at its best when the film focuses on Jenny as she attempts to escape her psychotic captors and the twisted family becomes increasingly vicious and unhinged to both her and each other, and this is where Into the Arms of Danger wisely places most of its focus. Having previously appeared on Lifetime as a supporting character in last year's Murder-In Law, AlexAnn Hopkins proves herself capable of taking center stage as main heroine Jenny Monroe. As Jenny fights for her freedom and finds her efforts met with violence and threats, Hopkins sells Jenny's emotions with a fervor, making you root for her as she refuses to give in to her nightmarish situation and keeps searching for a means of escape.
Cathy Moriarty similarly throws herself into her role as "Momma", the mother of Jenny's kidnappers who is as delusional as she is ruthless and violent. As the film progresses and we see further down Momma's rabbit hole of a mind, Moriarty keeps up in her performance and builds Momma up from simply a crazy old lady into a frighteningly cruel and vicious matriarch willing to lash out at anyone who threatens her delusions or the iron grip she has over her household. Momma's sons consist of Guy and Clyde, played by Joey Luthman and Sam Meader respectively. Luthman does well as the saner member of his family, selling Guy's reluctance to keep Jenny held against her will and his fear of what will happen if he doesn't obey his mother and brother's whims. Meader, meanwhile, is effectively frightening as Momma's more psychotic and sadistic offspring, though he suffers from flat dialogue (a good 75% of his lines are nothing but "you'll never escape us" taunts to Jenny that get old fast) and attempts at humanizing Clyde that go against his character's build-up as being just as ruthless and despicable as Momma.
Thanks to the film keeping its primary focus on Jenny, Into the Arms of Danger never suffers from pacing issues when it cuts away to Laura as she struggles to find her missing daughter. Laurie Fortier (no stranger to playing fierce, protective mothers on Lifetime) brings a fire to Laura as her efforts to make the police take Jenny's disappearance seriously are met with apathy, with Laura's best scenes being the ones where she gives the film's requisite "Useless Cop" character some well-deserved tongue lashings.
Laura's opening scenes with Jenny that establish her as having become overly protective in the wake of her husband's death initially rub the wrong way, but Fortier keeps Laura's "helicopter mom" status restrained to where they don't make her unlikable and Fortier and Hopkins share some heartwarming mother-daughter interactions as Laura and Jenny prior to the latter's abduction, allowing you to root for Laura just as much as you root for Jenny. To finish out Into the Arms of Danger's supporting cast is Mason Trueblood as unlikely ally Drake, who despite being shortchanged for time and character development, is played well enough by Trueblood that you believe he's a stand-up guy who truly cares for Jenny and wants to help Laura rescue her.
Into the Arms of Danger constructs a nightmare scenario that could happen to anyone, and runs with it to great dramatic effect. Add to that a strong cast and a plot that keeps the tension flowing, and you have a great Lifetime thriller to watch when you're in for a shot of adrenaline. Just maybe consider not watching if you have a long drive to make later....
Score: 9 out of 10 bear traps.