If there’s anything that can definitely be said about Lifetime films, it’s that they always feature the nicest houses.
Take Trapped Model, for instance. Now, this film is also known as The Model Murders and A Model Kidnapping so, right away, you know that it’s not going to be a happy story about how wonderful it is to be a model. No, this is a film about a young woman named Grace (Lucy Loken) who runs away to Florida so that she can have her picture taken by a seemingly reputable photographer named Hunter (Wes McGee). Hunter, of course, is charming at first but he soon turns out to be a total sleaze who, with the help of his assistant Nicole (Katherine Diaz), takes Grace prisoner and forces her to strip on camera for a worldwide audience of pervs and incels. That’s a nightmarish story, one that’s made all the more disturbing by the fact that it’s very plausible. I mean, I’ve met more than a few real-life Hunters and I saw pieces of all of them in Wes McGee’s unnerving and menacing performance. And yet, as I watched the movie, I couldn’t stop thinking about how nice Hunter’s house was.
I mean, seriously! This place was huge and it had a pool and, even more importantly, it was totally spotless. Remember that mansion where Al Pacino kept his mountain of cocaine in Scarface? That place had nothing on Hunter’s home. In the film, Hunter used his mansion to give himself legitimacy. Grace was lured into trusting Hunter by all of his visible signs of success. Now, of course, those of us in the audience knew better. We’ve seen enough Lifetime films to know better than to trust anyone who is as superficially charming as Hunter. But still, even though we were all like, “Don’t trust him! Don’t agree to stay overnight! Stay out the guest house!,” it was impossible not to appreciate that house.
“Wow,” I exclaimed as I watched the film, “Maybe it’d be worth getting kidnapped just to live in that house!”
“That’s not funny, Lisa Marie!” came the replies and technically, I guess it wasn’t. Still….
The other thought that I had as I watched Trapped Model was that it was unfortunate that Grace wasn’t Liam Neeson’s daughter. I mean, we all know that no one gets away with kidnapping a member of the Neeson family. Unfortunately, Grace has to depend on the investigative skills of her mother (Kiki Harris) and her boyfriend (Seth Goodfellow), neither one of whom has been trained to thwart kidnappings. Instead, they have to go to the police, who turn out to be fairly ineffectual. Usually, I kind of roll my eyes at the incompetent cops who populate Lifetime films but, in this case, the film made good use of the trope. As soon as Grace is kidnapped, it’s obvious that she’s going to have to be the one to figure out a way to escape her captors. You find yourself cheering her every success and dreading her every setback.
For the most part, Trapped Model was just as impressive as Hunter’s house. This was a well-executed melodrama, featuring brisk direction from Damian Romay and excellent performances from Lucy Loken, Wes McGee, and Katherine Diaz. In the end, Trapped Model is one of the better Lifetime films that I’ve seen this year and I’m not just saying that because of the house.