Shattering the Silence
"Inspired by" are in my book loose words when it comes to movies which have their basis in true stories, it means to me that whilst the basic story may have some truth to it what we watch can deviate from the truth as much as it likes. Now I don't know the true story which inspired "Scared Silent" but the way this Lifetime movie plays out feels more like a fictional crime story made to entertain rather than a dramatization of cold hard facts. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily as whilst "Scared Silent" doesn't rank highly when compared to other crime movies the fact it makes this story of abused women taking a stand easier to watch is a good thing when it comes to public awareness.
Life was good for the recently married Kathy Clifson (Penelope Ann Miller - The Relic) as her and her husband Doug (Reed Diamond - Memphis Belle), a Police Chief, have moved back to her hometown where her best friend Carole still lives. But her newly wed happiness is short lived when Doug mentions that he has a new deputy at the station, Officer John McCrane (Andrew Jackson - We'll Meet Again) and just hearing that name makes Kathy collapse in fear. Kathy is not the only one who is terrified at the sound of her name as her best friend Carole (Liisa Repo-Martell) is also rocked by it as 13 years earlier they were both raped by McCrane when he was a young cop and they were finishing school. Along with others and with the help of Doug they set about getting justice for what McCrane did to women but find the old boys network amongst the cops and legal system blocking their way.
Now I mentioned there that "Scared Silent" doesn't rank highly when it compares to other crime stories and that is because that whilst inspired by a true story the events which unfold in front of our eyes are sadly stereotypical. We have the happy start rocked by Kathy's secret that she was once raped, the old boy's network doing what they can to prevent her and others bringing the dirty cop to justice and so on. Along the way it switches between scenes of joy to scenes of anger as the police put pressure on others who in turn put pressure on Kathy and Doug whilst her best friend Carole becomes scared stiff that McCrane will come after her.
Now not only does the story play out in a typical fashion but the characters we are presented with are more entertaining than real. Everything they say and the way they react is entertaining rather than real and as such on one level the acting works in an easy to watch entertaining way but none of the actors ever really own their characters, just playing their parts.
What this all boils down to is that "Scared Silent" is one of those movies which whilst inspired by a true story and one which frankly isn't a nice story is more of an entertaining movie rather than a gritty, realistic one. Does it work? Well if it makes people watch and open their eyes to things then that is a good thing but it won't necessarily leave a lasting memory.