Terrifying movies: The scariest films about real-life kidnappings
These days the concept of kidnapping is taught to people from a very young age – they are called kidnappings. Whether you learned it from a cartoon or from your mother panicking when she lost sight of you in the grocery store, we’re trained from childhood to be wary of strangers & being taken away.
It’s a fear which continues with us long into adulthood, because it’s ingrained in our beings – especially for women who know growing up won’t deter those who have rape or human trafficking on their minds. Kidnapping is a nightmare we all hope and pray we’ll never have to experience first hand.
Alas, kidnapping isn’t just a movie concept, but something which really does happen. Though, sometimes real stories will get turned into a movie – whether it’s to scare people or to raise awareness of kidnappings there are a lot of hair raising stories you can watch. (And yes, a lot of these are Lifetime movies.)
I Am Elizabeth Smart
This 2017 Lifetime movie covers the story of Elizabeth Smart. The movie shows her being kidnapped at age fourteen by a man who once worked as a handyman at her family home. Smart is forced to partake in strange rituals, raped, drugged, starved, and otherwise mistreated while she’s being held.
Eventually Elizabeth Smart was found by authorities, and the man who kidnapped her was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. The film also provides narration from the real Elizabeth Smart so as to remind people this event really did happen – it also keeps the movie accurate.
Elizabeth Smart is said to have watched the movie once, at which point she said she didn’t ever want to see it again because of the movie’s accuracy.
The Most Hated Woman in America
This movie was officially released in 2017 by Netflix and covers the 1995 story of Madalyn Murray O’Hair who was kidnapped along with her song and granddaughter.
O’Hair is also a large part of the reason the Supreme Court ruled that mandatory prayers in school are illegal. Eventually Madalyn forms the group American Atheist and profits from it. She hires a man named Waters to help her manage the group, however the two have a falling out and her kidnaps Madalyn and her family.
Girl in the Bunker
In 2018 Lifetime aired the movie Girl in the Bunker based on the story of Elizabeth Shoaf.
The movie tells the story of Shoaf (Julia Lalonde) who was approached by a man dressed as a police officer. The man pretends to arrest her for possession of marijuana, but instead takes her to his underground bunker and uses her for his own sexual pleasure daily.
The horrible story thankfully lasts only ten days at which point Shoaf outsmarts her kidnapper and manages to contact help.
This star studded 2006 movie includes Bruce Willis, Sharon Stone, Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfriend, and many more famous names.
The movie is based on the real story of Nicholas Markowitz who was kidnapped and murdered in 2000. While the characters in this movie are renamed and a lot of it is dramatized, it is based on the real events where the fifteen-year-old was taken and eventually killed over a drug money feud.
Abducted: The Carlina White Story
Another lifetime movie, this one from 2012, tells the story of Carlina Renae White (also known as Nejdra Nance. The movie stars Keke Palmer as Carlina White.
White’s story starts when she’s an infant and kidnapped from the Harlem Hospital Center in New York. A woman faked being a nurse at the hospital for three weeks before stealing White away from her parents.
White became suspicious in high school when her “mother” was unable to provide a birth certificate. In her twenties White eventually got the truth out of her mother when she was informed the certificate she had finally gotten turned out to be fake. With a little bit of research she was able to find her birth parents. This case is the longest known case where a child is reunited with their parents.