Movie Review: A Mother’s Nightmare

There might be a reason why this movie never really took off, and it could be that one might find it hard to believe that such poor decisions can be made even by teenagers. But then again, one should be able to reach back into their past and realize that, unless they were somehow perfect, they likely made a few bad decisions as well. The main point of the story is that it’s easy to prey upon people when they’re depressed, especially since some folks will take whatever they can grab hold of to keep themselves from drowning in despair. In this particular story, however, Vanessa isn’t so much a lifesaver as she is a manipulative individual who’s obsessed with death and has sent every boyfriend she’s ever had rocketing right to the grave. One might think that the young woman has severe issues of her own, and they’d be right since this is seen at one point in the movie. But rather than seeking therapy for this ongoing condition, she decides to use her looks and her wiles as she moves on from one boyfriend after another, building up their confidence while slowly but surely destroying their lives before she ends them entirely. 

The movie starts with Vanessa attending the funeral of a young man that she was intimate with, professing that she loved him. The look from the individual’s mother, and the fact that she looks as though she’s about ready to throw hands, makes it clear that Vanessa isn’t trusted or appreciated. When she’s moved to another foster home she integrates herself into another high school where she meets Chris, a nice young man who’s been out of school for a while due to, no joke, his parents getting a divorce and a girl dumping him. Yes, apart from the former, the latter is a high school problem that apparently requires time spent away from the problem rather than facing it. 

If that wasn’t bad enough, Chris ends up spending all his time with Vanessa as he allows his studies to start suffering, he blows off Track practice, and he falls for Vanessa’s manipulations when it comes to spending time with her. In a very big way, Vanessa comes off as needy when she wants something, and petulant when she doesn’t get it. Showing up at Chris’s home after meeting him the first day, and kissing him no less, is a huge red flag that Chris once again lets slide by, but when she’s allowed to stay with Chris and his mother for the night and ends up in Chris’s bed, this should be more than a red flag. The fact that she openly challenges Chris’s mother in her own home is another moment where many parents would draw the line, but by this time Chris is so hooked on Vanessa that nothing his mother says is bound to make a difference since he’s not going to believe her, and will defend Vanessa to the end. Worse than that, Chris will do just about anything Vanessa says, which includes going against his own ideas about drinking, since he makes it clear that his father was a violent drunk, and he doesn’t want to risk such an episode. 

The kicker is when Vanessa gets Chris so drunk that he doesn’t remember anything that happens between them, and Vanessa cries rape the next day after Chris’s mother finds him inebriated and takes him home. Even worse than this however is the fact that everyone turns on Chris, even his older friends, without hearing his side of the story. Made in 2012, this move was well within the MeToo era, and if anyone is really watching, this is the danger of such movements since while they’re meant to convey solidarity and do a great deal of good for those that can benefit from the main point, there are those that would use it as a means of getting back at someone or manipulating others into thinking that a person has committed a crime when they really haven’t. Oh, it gets worse though since Chris is still so madly in love with Vanessa that when she contacts him later on, he readily goes with her to a park where she loads him up with PCP via a cherry soft drink, and then persuades him to cut himself.  Chris’s mother does find out where they’ve gone, and since she’s been doing her research on Vanessa’s backstory, she’s found out that Vanessa has been transferred from one foster home to another, and has left behind a suicidal boyfriend every time she moves. Out of the many stories out there, this is one that strikes close to home for many parents that are protective of their kids but want them to be happy. It’s good for a single watch, but any more than that and it becomes a bit disturbing. 

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