There’s been a murder. Or has there?
Two people emerge from the wilderness, both with a story to tell. Sam Turner (T.C. Matherne) lives in the backwoods. He’s a country boy, right down to his accent and the gun that he carries with him. He’s the type who can lead you to the best places to fish but he gives off a vibe that says that you don’t want to turn your back on him for too long. Accompanying Sam is Robin (Maddie Nichols), a young woman who appears to be shell-shocked. They’ve spent the last few days in the woods. Sam claims that he’s been caring for and protecting Robin as they made their way back to civilization. Robin …. well, Robin doesn’t quite seem to remember exactly what’s been going on.
What both Sam and Robin both agree on is that Robin’s husband, Javier (Kevin Rodriguez), is dead. Javier and Robin were celebrating their first anniversary by going on a camping trip. Javier was an experienced camper. Robin was not. When Sam approached them and offered to show them the best place to fish, they followed him deeper into the forest. According to Sam, he accidentally took a wrong turn and got them lost but is he telling the truth?
Sam says that he accidentally shot Javier. At first, Robin backs up his story but later she says that Sam actually murdered Javier in cold blood and then proceeded to brainwash the shocked Robin to such an extent that Robin couldn’t remember what was true. Sheriff Watkins (Leslie Hendrix) is inclined to believe Robin over Sam. However, things are complicated when the two of them each take a polygraph test. Sam passes. Robin does not.
So, is Sam telling the truth? Sam may have passed the polygraph but he’s so obviously sleazy that it’s hard to believe that he didn’t intentionally kill Javier. Was Robin in on the murder or is she suffering from the after effects of Stockholm Syndrome, the phenomena in which the victim of an abduction will come to trust and, at the times, even help their abductor?
Based on a true story, A Murder To Remember makes it pretty clear from the start who is to be trusted and who isn’t. Sam is obviously guilty and Robin is obviously telling the truth but, for most of the movie, there’s no way to prove any of it. Unfortunately, because the truth is so obvious, the film is never as suspenseful as it could be. Instead of trying to figure out what actually happened, the viewer instead just waits for Sam to finally slip up. It takes a while as this is a rather slow movie, especially by the usually quick paced standards of Lifetime.
The film is at its best when it’s in the wilderness. The film does a good job of capturing just how frightening it can be to be lost when there’s no hint of civilization anywhere around. Maddie Nichols does a great job of capturing the fear that any of us would feel in her situation. She’s not even an experienced camper and now, suddenly, her husband is dead and she’s going to have to depend on her husband’s murderer to survive. That would be enough to send anyone into a state of shock and Nichols effectively portrays the gradual process that leads to Robin remembering what actually happened to Javier.
A Murder To Remember was uneven but, if nothing else, it reminded me of why I don’t go camping.