I’m thinking it’s maybe time to hang up Made-for-TV March.
Obviously I’m not serious, but when I read the synopsis for No Place to Hide, I had major déjà vu. A young artist is stalked and hardly believed? That’s the plot to Are You in the House Alone? I was even more perplexed when I realised this also starred Kathleen Beller!
Alas, despite the surface similarities, the two films are hardly alike at all. Where Are You in the House Alone is quite a serious look at assault and the suffering of victims, No Place to Hide is campier with more of the hallmarks of light-hearted TV thrillers. The villains are more cartoonish and the story is sillier.
And I liked it.
Art student Amy has been dealing with a stalker for a while. She keeps seeing a man following her, but the police don’t believe her. In the opening scene, she sees a man in the back of her car. The man tells her, “Soon, Amy. Soon.” But when someone checks the car for her, it’s empty. The police chalk it up to her imagination again.
To help with Amy’s credibility, her stepmother Adele suggests Amy see a psychiatrist to get the all-clear. Amy reluctantly agrees and meets with the young Dr Letterman. Shortly after their first meeting, Amy receives a funeral wreath with a note that says, “Soon, Amy. Soon.”
When Amy and Adele go to the florist to question him, he insists that it was Amy who ordered the wreath. Amy becomes perplexed and uncertain of her own sanity, but she still feels convinced something else is going on. She’s right, though, and that night at school, she’s pursued by the shadowing man again.
Following a discussion with Dr Letterman, Amy decides to go to the cabin where her father died the year before. Though initially planning to go on her own, Adele joins. They have a nice time until Adele is called away. Lo and behold: while Amy is away, strange things begin to happen again.
Amy is eventually attacked and left to die on the river. But is she dead? Will her attackers ever be found guilty for their crimes?
That’s what the last thirty minutes or so of this film make you wonder. And this is when the momentum comes to a screeching halt. Without Amy, the story kind of meander. It really slows the pace and kills any sort of suspense. It definitely feels like they padded the wrong parts out. Let our villains get their comeuppance in 15 minutes or less, please.
However, I really did like this one. Beller is so magnetic on screen. While her character wasn’t as fleshed out as hers in Are You in the House Alone?, you still want to root for her. Some of the early gags (the car, the wreath, the chase sequence) are really good. Shame there wasn’t a bit more of that. You could question Amy’s sanity, but it’s almost too clear that it isn’t her minus the one incident with the wreath.
Kathleen Beller is a hero. Everyone else is just a bully.