According to its official description, Lifetime’s Was I Really Kidnapped is based on a true story. However, which story, exactly, isn’t clear. The movie follows a woman named Elle (Michelle Mylett) who’s suddenly released on the side of the road after being kidnapped and tortured for an indeterminate amount of time. As she tries to adjust back to her regular life, police start questioning her about discrepancies in her story. When they begin to suspect she isn’t telling the truth about what happened to her, Elle must fight to clear her name and identify her abductor.
The network doesn’t specify which story this is based on, perhaps in order to protect the privacy of the people involved. However, the premise is sadly common in real life: survivors of sexual assault, in particular, have trouble remembering details about their attacks, and as depicted in the recent Netflix series Unbelievable (which is also based on a true story), are unfairly interrogated about them.
Because this is Lifetime, though, Was I Really Kidnapped takes it a step further. In the movie’s trailer, it’s not just Elle’s memory that’s questioned. Investigators also ask her if she experiences "delusions." One even remarks, "It was real" before pausing to add "…to her," seemingly implying that Elle’s reality doesn’t line up with what actually happened.
In another clip from the movie, Elle says, "I’m losing my mind" and admits that she is "having a hard time remembering anything" when she is asked about the incident. Elle’s boyfriend Billy (Jacob Blair) appears to believe Elle’s story, telling detectives, "I know something had happened to her. Someone did take her." And Elle’s sister Jen (Anna Hardwick) is also by her side as she tries to piece things together after the kidnapping.
Although it’s not clear which case (or cases) this story is based on, this isn’t the first time a Lifetime movie has focused on a story about a kidnapping. There’s actually an entire marathon of movies about kidnappings airing on the network Nov. 8 before Was I Really Kidnapped‘s premiere, including Kill Ending, about an author whose daughter is kidnapped by someone who copied a plot line from one of her books; Stolen from the Suburbs, in which a mother frantically searches for her daughter before human traffickers can sell her on the international market; and Girl in the Box, about a hitchhiker who is kidnapped and forced to be a couple’s slave.
This marathon culminates with the movie of the night: Was I Really Kidnapped, in which it might be tough for viewers to know who to trust: Elle, who can’t get her story straight, or the detectives whose job is to find out the truth.
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