Last week or so, I recommended Knives Out to my girlfriend and she loved the hell out of it so this week, it was her turn to recommend something for me. Her pick: Girl In The Basement. Once I figured out that this was actually based on true events, I was like “Yes please!”; guess she knew I had a knack for drama. If you can make it through the typical Lifetime cheesiness and awkwardness that comes with these types of movies, it’s safe to say this....I’m not a fan. This didn’t do it for me because this could’ve been better, man.
Consider myself lucky I was able to run into some things that I liked. Cinematography is average both in stationary and hand-held form, it keeps a very steady and streamlined tone to counteract an odd sense of pacing, an aura of uneasiness and fear are instilled into the atmosphere very early on, though it fails in trying to maintain that and while everyone in the movie is mostly ok, Judd Nelson and Stefanie Scott give out the best performances throughout the entire film, bar none. The right kaleidoscopic emotional beats they need to hit for their characters are there and encountered for and it did mostly succeed in getting me to care about one and hate the other.
Everything else, I found to be a little dull. And misleading. And boring. And lacking any weight in a story meant to be a call to action to such a serious problem.
Outside of the film sort of rushing to get to the climax with a very sappy and corny resolution without much subsequent leeway and a number of instances where they reuse the same shots within a scene over and over and over again, it actually glosses over a LOT of what that poor woman had to suffer through. We get baited into watching a horrific story regarding all the terrible things her asshole father did to her.....and yet both the direction and writing plays this extremely dire situation way too safe. It admittedly takes most of, if not all the tension out of this movie when it requires you to feel every emotion the daughter feels. I really want to say it doesn’t paint extremes that alienate the truth of the story but the very notion that they moved this appalling Austria story to the American suburbs while altering and omitting but never expanding upon further details of what actually happened beyond the bare minimum.....just, just no. They not only whitewashed it; but it also made me almost stop caring.