Nicollette Sheridan in Escape from Harm (1996) (aka: The People Next Door)

Desperate Neighbours

After having had enough of her abusive husband Anna Morse (Nicollette Sheridan - Spy Hard) decides to leave and with her three daughters move to a rental property in Albuquerque. Things are tough as she sets about finding work especially with her own disapproving mother Ellen (Faye Dunaway) trying to tell her what to do. But things slowly get better especially with the help of her new neighbours the nice Donna (Tracy Ellis) and Garrett James (Michael O'Keefe - Caddyshack). Then things start to take a turn for the worse when Anna learns to her cost that Donna and Garrett are not the nice people she thought they were.

I read somewhere that "Escape from Harm" which is also known as "The People Next Door" is based upon a true story and I can quite believe it as it is 100% stereotypical of a mid 90s made for TV movie. Everything about it from the attractive Nicollette Sheridan playing an abused wife starting again to the estranged relationship with her own mother who is snobbish is nothing more than text book TV movie. In fact whilst "Escape from harm" has Faye Dunaway in the cast the actors are generally the generic bunch which do a solid but forgettable job of averagely written characters.

Faye Dunaway in Escape from Harm (1996) (aka: The People Next Door)

Now as for the storyline well I guess I had better say spoiler alert now although it seems daft to say it as "Escape from Harm" is highly predictable. So we have Anna starting again with the pleasant Donna and Garrett next door but soon we become alerted to the fact that they are a couple of criminals, pulling credit card scams and selling goods to dodgy bike riding guys. And we also become aware that they plan to kidnap Anna's girls and raise them as their own which basically means at some point one or all the kids will be kidnapped and we will watch Anna's desperate attempts to get them back. It is little more than a routine TV movie which is entertaining but by no means anything special, ignoring the opportunity to explore some interesting subplots such as Anna and her mother's strained relationship which really comes to the fore in the highlight of the abduction as Ellen accuses Anna of doing it herself.

As for the acting well as I said the characters are by no means the best written bunch but they are easy to watch. Nicollette Sheridan, Michael O'Keefe and Faye Dunaway all at least try to deliver characters even when the writing isn't great and they do just enough to keep us watching.

What this all boils down to is that "Escape from Harm" is nothing more than a typical mid 90s made for TV movie. There isn't anything really bad about it but it is nothing more than average with the usual issues which fill the TV movie genre.