Lifetime Double Feature: Seventeen And Missing And Accused At 17
12:30 pm, December 3rd | by Sarah Devlin
The Lifetime Network (“TV & Movies For Women”) typically gets a lot of attention when they do something really insane, like casting Rob Lowe as creepy wife-murderer Drew Peterson, or letting Lindsay Lohan play Elizabeth Taylor; or something awesome like hiring an all-black cast for a remake of Steel Magnolias. Those TV events get a lot of attention, but the OG network for women is killing it with their original programming 24/7, 365. It’s in that spirit that I’m making a commitment to reduce my significant DVR backlog by sampling two of their offerings at a time. This week: Seventeen And Missing and Accused At 17.
It feels like the end of an era — the last of the “Seventeen And —” movies. My DVR suddenly seems so empty, but not for long. The Lifetime Christmas season is upon us, and it’s going to be the best. But first we have to get through these two cautionary tales:
Seventeen And Missing
This movie is about a long-suffering and psychic mother who runs a preschool, and whose atrociously behaved daughter goes missing after failing to return home from a party. She’s fighting with her mother because she wants a prom dress, which her mother refuses to buy her until her grades come up. Daughter Lori is a real prize and snarls that she’ll just ask her dad for the money (they’re divorced) before flouncing away to a party with her boyfriend, who yells things like “Check out my hot girlfriend!” while plying her with lots of alcohol. Then everything goes pear-shaped.
So Lori’s boyfriend was cheating on her with her best friend, who, the movie makes clear, is amoral because her own mother is a pilled-out mess. Lori found out and left the party, giving some other random guy from school who was obsessed with her the opportunity to kidnap her and hold her for days in some kind of Basement of Terror. Lori’s mom has to band together with her father, aided by her psychic visions, to find Lori before she dies of dehydration after her mom accidentally kills her kidnapper. Basically this is the “what if our daughter got kidnapped and it forced us to bury the hatchet” romcom sequel to The Parent Trap that no one was waiting for. In the end, Lori lives — and, more importantly, GETS HER PERFECT PROM DRESS.
Accused At 17
Oh boy, Bianca’s life is rough. Her mom’s new boyfriend is being hugely annoying, she just found out her boyfriend cheated on her at a party with her evil classmate Dorie, and she has two insane friends, Fallyn and Sarah. The three girls hatch a plot for revenge on Dorie, driving her out to the desert with the promise of going to a party to meet “the hottest frat guys ever.” Once there, Bianca drives up separately and yells at Dorie for a while. The plan is to leave and make her walk home, but she picks up a HUGE rock and chucks it at Fallyn (the evil mastermind of the trio). Fallyn wrestles her to the ground, picks up an even BIGGER rock and uses it to crush her skull.
Then she sets about covering her tracks and framing Bianca for the murder, enlisting her overindulgent mother in coming up with an alibi and taking advantage of a nasty voicemail message Bianca left for her boyfriend vowing revenge. Bianca gets charged with the murder and sent to jail, and her mother vows to clear her name. Unfortunately Fallyn and Sarah are pretty content to let Bianca go down for the murder alone, until Sarah has second thoughts and calls Bianca’s mom to confess. Fallyn is on to her though, coming to the house to confront her and withholding her inhaler so that she has an asthma attack and dies. Good grief, where are all these stone cold sociopathic teenage girls in Lifetime movies being raised? Through some amateur detective work, Bianca’s mom proves that Fallyn was at the scene when Sarah died, and after threatening her own parents with a gun (whaaaaaat?) she does the “No! I won’t go to jail! *starts sobbing and falls into her dad’s arms*” thing and Bianca gets to come home.
Lessons learned this week: Your parents will buy you a prom dress, grades notwithstanding, if something terrible happens to you; something something “a mother’s intuition”; maybe your friend who drinks tequila in full view of her parents in the morning shouldn’t spearhead the plot for revenge on your boyfriend; girls who hook up with other girls’ boyfriends run the risk of getting murdered; boys who cheat on their girlfriends tend to get off relatively scot free (hey, that one is actually pretty true to life!).