Lifetime Movie Online Abduction Teaches Us Never To Live Tweet A Kidnapping

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Lifetime Movie Online Abduction Teaches Us Never to Live Tweet a Kidnapping Lifetime movie Online Abduction jpg

I’ve said before that Lifetime has a complicated relationship with the Internet. On the one hand, it’s evil and will probably lead to your death. On the other hand, it’s really helpful when you want to catch bad guys. Especially bad guys who are really dumb and choose to live tweet their abduction of a child, like the one in last night’s movie Online Abduction. I should mention that the bad “guy” is actually a bad lady. Also a crazy one, because of course.

We begin the movie meeting realtor Jackie Fletcher (Natalia Livingston). She starts her morning like all of us, by drinking coffee and looking through her entire Facebook profile so the movie audience knows everything about her. Oh, did I say Facebook? I meant Facechatter. At this point, I’m pretty sure the writers of these movies are just pointing to random words in the dictionary, putting them after “Face” and calling it a day. As we learn from Facechatter, Jackie has two children, a 16-year-old daughter named Isabel (Brooke Butler) from her first marriage and a little boy named Tommy (Jackson Garner) with her current husband Matt (David Chokachi).

Isabel’s your typical teenager, always Facechatting and playing beer pong and complaining about how her family treats her. You know, the usual. One day she offers to take Tommy to the park. While there, she talks to a woman claiming to be the mother of one of the kids playing. Gee, I wonder if she’s telling the truth. Could she be the one who’s going to abduct Tommy, as we know will happen based on the title of the movie? Possibly. But before that can happen, we need to set up the whole social media angle. Isabel runs into Jeremy (Matthew Ziff), a guy she met while playing the aforementioned beer pong, and he tells her he tracked her down through Instagram. Instead of thinking that’s kind of creepy, she’s flattered. Like I said, typical Lifetime teen.

Isabel did such a good job taking Tommy to the park that Matt lets her do it again another day. It’s never explicitly established what time of year this is, but people aren’t wearing particularly summery clothes, so I spent the whole movie wondering why Isabel and her friends were never in school. But that’s not important. What is important is that Isabel looks away for one second and suddenly Tommy is gone. As I’ve learned from approximately a dozen other Lifetime movies, one second is exactly how long it takes for a child to be kidnapped by a crazy lady from your family’s past.

But the family doesn’t know who took Tommy at this point, or if he was even taken at all. Isabel is determined to find her little brother to make up for the fact that he went missing in her care, so she uses her teenage computer skillz (and her friends who apparently live in a basement with conveniently giant computer screens) to look into who was at the park around the time of the kidnapping. Apparently Facechatter is 100 times more advanced than Facebook in that it allows you to perform CSI-level investigations from your home computer.

Isabel and her friends discover that a woman on the sex offender list was at the park that day. Instead of telling the police about it, she and her mom just go to the lady’s house and explain that Tommy is missing while giving her a death stare. She realizes how they must have found her and explains that she was put on the list by her parents after having sex with her 15-year-old boyfriend when she was also 15. Isabel and Jackie are all “Oh, we’re so sorry we thought you were a pervert who stole our son, thanks for your time” and walk away.

Meanwhile, the family is receiving some interesting tweets in response to Isabel’s posts about Tommy’s disappearance. (That’s right, apparently Facebook is off-limits for these movies, but Twitter is fine to reference without changing it to Chirper.) Someone named Elise is telling them, “You shouldn’t have left your back door open.” That’s the same thing that was written on an envelope they just received containing Tommy’s teddy bear. Isabel discovers that “Elise” is the woman who spoke to her in the park the other day. She lied about that kid being her son.

Meanwhile, Jeremy finds gravel from the family’s fish bowl in the parking lot of the playground. Tommy is obsessed with the stuff, even putting it in his food. The family is worryingly unconcerned about it. Like, maybe you should make sure he doesn’t choke on it? Just a suggestion. Anyway, the gravel leads them to look at pictures of the parking lot from the day Tommy was taken. They zoom in on one of the photos and see the woman who took him in the background. Because it’s conveniently crystal clear and she’s turned at the perfect angle, Matt realizes it’s his ex-wife Lorraine (Heidi Fielek).

They divorced 18 years ago after Lorraine had several miscarriages and a stillborn daughter she named Ashley. According to Lifetime movies, women who have miscarriages turn into crazy ladies who kidnap their ex-husbands’ children and pretend to be their mothers. Which is exactly what Lorraine is doing. They track down her Twitter and discover that she’s been reposting photos of Tommy pretending he’s her son. She’s also conveniently live tweeting the kidnapping with cryptic updates.

They figure out that she’s taking Tommy to see her sick mother, who thinks he is her only grandchild. She’s also referring to Matt as the “third piece” they need to complete their family, which gives Isabel an idea. They tweet at Lorraine pretending to be Matt and using some very creepy phrasing to match her own. They trick her into sending them a text, which can help the police track her phone. While the family is out looking for the cabin she’s taken Tommy to (it’s always a cabin), Jeremy decides to contact Isabel’s estranged father, who just so happens to work with computers.

Because everything happens at the speed of light in this movie, Isabel receives an email from her father suggesting that they send Lorraine a virus that can help track her location. They somehow accomplish this in approximately two seconds and then head to the cabin, where Matt tries to talk Lorraine out of doing anything stupid by having a criminal profiler Cyrano de Bergerac him on the phone. He screws up of course, which leads Isabel to come forward pretending to be Lorraine’s dead daughter Ashley. Lorraine is all “OMG my daughter is alive, let me just drop my gun and let go of this kidnapped child so I can hug her.” Needless to say, the cops use the opportunity to arrest her.

The family ends the movie by deleting Facechatter. But I’m sure they’ll reactivate it the next time somebody’s kidnapped and they have to use social media to find them.

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