Nicole Gale Anderson in Accused at 17 (2009)

16 Going on 17 Years for Murder

Having been forced to have dinner with her mum and her boyfriend instead of going to a party Bianca (Nicole Gale Anderson) is not happy and she is even less happy when the next morning she learns that Dory (Lindsay Taylor) tried it on with her boyfriend Chad (Reiley McClendon) at the party. With friends Sarah (Stella Maeve) and Fallyn (Janet Montgomery) they plan to teach Dory a lesson by dumping her in the middle of nowhere. But when Dory is discovered dead the police suspect Bianca of murder and it is up to her mum Jacqui (Cynthia Gibb) to try and discover what really happened.

"Accused at 17" has the foundations to be a half decent TV movie and by foundations I am basically saying that the storyline has potential. Unfortunately that is all it has got because whilst there are story elements which are quite interesting the acting and dialogue as well as the attention to detail is a let down. And to be honest "Accused at 17" also has another problem, its target market as whilst the storyline revolves around a clique of girls and a deadly deed it's not really a teen movie yet nor is it an adult thriller, it sort of sinks in no man's land.

Stella Maeve in Accused at 17 (2009)

Ironically despite having potential the storyline itself is rather basic and in a way quite cheesy as we watch Bianca accused of the murder of school friend Dory. She has a motive but we know she didn't do it and in fact know exactly who did do it and so sadly "Accused at 17" is one of those movies where because we know the truth we are just watching and waiting for Bianca's mother to discover what we already know and save her daughter from jail. It doesn't really help that for around the first half of the movie it is all build up, we meet the characters learn of their relationships, family issues and the fact that Bianca becomes enraged when she learns that Dory tried it on with her boyfriend Chad at a party.

But what is actually interesting about "Accused at 17" is that it has some clever elements. For example when Bianca learns that Dory tried it on with Chad she wants to teach her a lesson, well that is quite real life. And when she returns home after having played the prank on Dory she lies to her mum as to what she has been up to. Then there is Sarah who finds herself between a rock and a hard place knowing the truth of what happened but too scared to speak out. Basically there are elements of real teen life in this drama and it is those elements which end up the most interesting.

Unfortunately on the other hand there is also a lot of nonsense going on in "Accused at 17" especially when it comes to how far fetched it becomes. Now as I pointed out we know what happened and so whilst we watch Bianca struggle as she is arrested for the murder we watch the actual killer who borders on being so evil that it is just wrong. And it escalates to an extraordinary end which coincides with Bianca's mum getting to the truth of what happened.

Now what doesn't help matters is with the exception of Cynthia Gibb who plays Bianca's mother the rest of the acting is weak. There is not one individually bad performance but it is collectively poor and quite cheesy, the sort of cheese where the clique of girls decide to teach Dory a lesson and then giggle, in my experience girls don't giggle when they plan revenge. I could go on because adding to the issues are two text book detectives who use uncool phrases such as macking.

What this all boils down to is that despite having the potential to be good "Accused at 17" is not a good movie even for a TV movie. It's a case that it is too far fetched and full of wooden acting.