After I watched 16 and Missing, it was time to continue cleaning out my DVR by watching Stolen From The Suburbs. Stolen From The Suburbs is a Lifetime film that originally aired on August 30th and I’m not sure why I missed watching it the first time that it aired.
If I had to describe Stolen From The Suburbs in one word, it would be intense. From the opening scene, in which two homeless teenagers are forcibly abducted by a man who pretended to be from a charitable organization to the film’s final violent stand-off, this is one intense film. While it has all the usual Lifetime tropes — rebellious daughter, overwhelmed single daughter, untrustworthy men, and hints of real-world significance — Stolen From The Suburbs is a hundred times more intense than your average Lifetime film. Indeed, this is one of the rare Lifetime films that ends without the hint that everything is going to be okay. While there are hugs at the end, there is no reassuring coda. The emotional and physical damage inflicted in Stolen From The Suburbs feels real and has real consequences.
Widowed Katherine (Cynthia Watros) and her teenager daughter, Emma (Sydney Sweeney), has just moved to the suburbs. Katherine is a loving mother and Emma is a good daughter, the type who even turns down a beer on the beach because she told her mother that she wouldn’t drink. However, when Emma meets the cute (and asthmatic) Adam (Nick Roux), she starts to resent her mother’s overprotectiveness. When Katherine finally says that she doesn’t want Emma hanging out with Adam, Emma responds by sneaking out of the house and never returning.
Desperately searching for her daughter, Katherine goes down to the mall and finds Emma’s cell phone tossed away in a dumpster. When she calls the police, Katherine tells them that Emma has been kidnapped. The unsympathetic detectives ask her if Emma has a history of running away and basically prove themselves to be useless. (The cops are always useless in a Lifetime film.) Katherine teams up with Anna Fray (Brooke Nevins), a missing persons activist, to find Emma.
What Anna tells Katherine is terrifying. Anna explains that teenage girls have been vanishing all over town. The police assume that they are runaways and make no effort to find them. In reality, though, the girls are being sold as sex slaves.
And that’s exactly what happened to Emma. Emma and several other teenage girls have been abducted and are now locked in a cage. In just a few days, they will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Overseeing the entire operation is Milena (Oliva d’Abo).
As played by d’Abo, Milena is one of the great Lifetime villains. As she explains it, she was kidnapped herself and sold as a sex slave. However, she has now managed to take over the operation and takes obvious pleasure in putting others through the same torture that she suffered. Playing the role with an ever present smirk and a haughty cruelty, Olivia d’Abo is absolutely chilling as Milena.
Also giving a great performance is Cynthia Watros. (You may remember her as Libby on Lost.) Watros makes Katherine’s pain and desperation feel incredibly real and when she finally confronts Milena, it’s absolutely riveting.
Stolen From The Suburbs is an excellent Lifetime film. Keep an eye out for it!