Girl in the Bunker (TV Movie 2018) Poster

(2018 TV Movie)

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This film did not sensationalize the abduction, rape and kidnapping but I still think these types of films spur copycats
Ed-Shullivan12 November 2021
Great jobs by the lead actress Julia Lalonde who played Elizabeth Shaof the victim and by the lead actor Henry Thomas, who played perpetrator Vinson Filyaw. The film packed quite a bit of the true life crime events in the 88 minute film without ever over sensationalizing some of the more horrific moments this young teenager experienced while in captivity.

The stranger danger rule was ignored by Elizabeth Shoaf as she let her guard down when Vinson Filyaw introduced himself and pretended to be a police officer.

This should be a warning for all young girls/women and boys/men to pay attention to your surroundings and ask yourself the "what if" questions before allowing yourself to become thee next victim.

These types of abductions and rapes happen far too often and to some extent the producers have to share the blame for airing shows like these that give that very small percentage of whackadoodles ideas to copycat these heinous crimes.

I give the film a better than average 7 out of 10 IMDB rating.
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Great for a Lifetime movie
mgconlan-16 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Two nights ago I watched a Lifetime movie that's one of the best things I've ever seen on that network: "Girl in the Bunker," written and directed by Stephen Kemp and telling the true story of Elizabeth Shoaf (Julia Lalonde), who at age 14 in the rural community of Lugoff, South Carolina (never heard of it? Neither had I) was kidnapped and held for 10 days in an underground bunker on private property. Her abductor, Vinson Filyaw (Henry Thomas), called himself "Benson" after the family that owned the property he was squatting on, lived in a trailer under which was a secret door connecting him to the bunker he'd dug, and lured Lizzie (her nickname, though only her parents and her brother called her that - a clue that became important in the story) into his clutches by posing as a police officer who had arrested her younger brother on marijuana charges. The promos for this movie made it seem like a titillating exploitation piece on the order of previous Lifetime excursions into stories (sometimes derived from real ones) of women being kidnapped and held as sex slaves for months or even years, including "Cleveland Abduction" and Kemp's previous "Girl in the Box", etc. - but as it turned out this was considerably better than their norm. Part of the superiority is that Elizabeth Shoaf (played in the film by Julia Lalonde) was only held for 10 days - though the word "only" seems like being thankful for infinitesimally small mercies - and that, though just 14, she had the presence of mind to fight back against her attacker through strategy and guile instead of openly resisting him.

Kemp maintains the suspense by cutting back and forth between Elizabeth's ordeal and the increasing anxiety of her parents, Don (Stephen Park) and Madeline (Moira Kelly), and her brother Bobby (Dimitri Komocsi), and their frantic efforts to search for her and to keep the doofuses on the local police force interested in continuing the search. One of the towering ironies of this story is that in this relatively tight-knit rural community the hiding place where Vinson is keeping Elizabeth is just a short distance from her home, and through much of the search Vinson can hear the police patrolling the property - including flying helicopters over it - and can lord it over Elizabeth how the authorities keep missing them. Though I still think Emma Donoghue's novel "Room" and the film made from it (with Donoghue writing the script and Lenny Abrahamson directing) are the best works made about this situation - at least partly because Donoghue was writing fiction and thereby wasn't trapped by the events of the actual story - "Girl in the Bunker" is quite a good movie, very far above the Lifetime norm and with a writer/director skilled enough at both jobs he keeps Elizabeth's peril front and center in the story without exploiting it for the obvious titillation.

"Girl in the Bunker" has some faults, and one of the most annoying ones is how similar the leading male characters look: Henry Thomas, Stephen Park (playing Elizabeth's dad) and Jeff Clarke (as one of the police officers involved in the search) are all the same "type" - thin, sandy-haired, attractive without being drop-dead gorgeous or genuinely sexy - that when Clarke appeared as one of the cops at first I thought he was Vinson and Elizabeth had been kidnapped by a genuine police officer who was also playing these sadistic sex games on the side, and involving himself in the investigation to steer his colleagues away from where she really was. Also, Lifetime's decision to show the film in a so-called "special edition" in which, during the commercial breaks, we got brief interview segments from the real Elizabeth, Don and Madeline Shoaf which affirmed the basic accuracy of the story but also let us know that, as usual, the filmmakers had cast the roles with considerably more attractive people than their real-life prototypes. Nonetheless, "Girl in the Bunker" is a well-done thriller and makes me hopeful Stephen Kemp can break free of the TV-movie ghetto and make some theatrical features - he's no Alfred Hitchcock but he's a damned sight better than a lot of the wanna-be Hitchcocks out there, some of whom have got to make theatrical features with "A"-list stars.
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This was something else...
paul_haakonsen17 March 2021
First of all, I must say that the 2018 movie "Girl in the Bunker" is definitely a movie that is well-worth watching. Why? Well, given the storyline, despite it being something that might not sit well with everyone in the audience, but also because of some good acting performances.

I had not heard about writer and director Stephen Kemp's 2018 movie before now in 2021 when I stumbled upon it by random luck. The movie had an interesting cover which made me pick it up, and the synopsis seemed interesting enough, so of course I gave "Girl in the Bunker" a go.

Now, it should be said that the movie is revolving around a kidnapping and the perpetrator is somewhat of a foul character. But writer and director Stephen Kemp managed to serve the movie in a manner where it is watchable without crossing any lines, as he sets up the scenes that will prove bad and then skips to something else, letting the audience fill in the blanks. And that actually worked quite well in this movie.

I have to admit that I was enthralled by the movie, because it was a story that was well-written and well-told on the screen. The characters in the storyline were very believable and realistic, which definitely helped selling the movie quite nicely. And they had a good cast ensemble as well.

And speaking of the cast, then I must say that I was impressed with Henry Thomas portraying this character, given the nature of the character. Quite a bold move by the actor, but he nailed it with a stellar performance as Vinson Filyaw the kidnapper and sexual predator. And playing the victim Elizabeth Shoaf was actress Julia Lalonde, whom also put on a great performance.

"Girl in the Bunker" was a very entertaining movie, and it was one that definitely surprised me. I can highly recommend you spending the time on the movie, if you have the chance.

My rating of "Girl in the Bunker" lands on a six out of ten stars.
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Shut it off halfway through Warning: Spoilers
Difficult to watch. I guess I don't find watching a pedo kidnap, rape and hold hostage a 14 year old girl in an underground bunker entertainment. I don't know what purpose there was to make a movie about that poor girl's experience. I did a search online to read the outcome after shutting it off and was glad to see that the girl survived the ordeal and the pedo captor is rotting in hell. I love suspense films, but this was to much. I'm still giving it 5 stars though because the actress who played the kidnapped girl was good.
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Lifetime girl in danger movie
SnoopyStyle8 December 2020
Warning: Spoilers
It's 2006 Lugoff, South Carolina. 14 year old Elizabeth Shoaf is walking home when she gets kidnapped by Vinson Filyaw (Henry Thomas) within sight of her house. She is held captive in a bunker in the nearby woods. Her mother (Moira Kelly) is immediately searching for her.

It's Lifetime. It's another girl in danger movie. It's creepy. It's all pretty much the same. I do have to say that Henry Thomas makes for a solid creep. Moira Kelly has been mom for a while now. This is nothing special or actually good about this. The by-the-book police search is not compelling. Bunker life is monotonous except for the creepiness. This is what it is and it is not anything better.
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Girl In The Bunker
a_baron28 September 2022
On September 6, 2006, the 14 year old Elizabeth Shoaf was kidnapped by artifice while walking home from school in southern California. Vinson Filyaw led her to a bunker he had constructed in the woods. Over the next ten days, Elizabeth was held captive and raped repeatedly.

Unlike some such dramatisations, this one wasn't made in indecent haste, and as usual it doesn't stray far if at all from what actually happened. There are no graphic scenes even though lead actress Julia Lalonde was over the age of consent at the time.

Vinson Filyaw died in May 2021 aged just 51. It is doubly sad that a man of his obvious talents - how many people could have single-handedly constructed an underground bunker the way he did? - could not have put them to good rather than depraved use.
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Chilling and Emotional
RyanCallaway5 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
A well done movie that didn't stray far from the true events it was based on. It's essentially the story of a very intelligent 14 year old girl who is able to escape a kidnapper in large part due to her own efforts and a clever ploy by the police. There were strong performances all around, especially by the actress portraying Elizabeth Shoaf and her kidnapper. Direction and music were spot on, with palpable tension throughout most of the film and a strong emotional undercurrent. This is one of Lifetime's best and an all around excellent film.
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Imprisonment with pedophile stalker
NijazBaBs8 May 2019
This is about ignorance for bad people around us. If we ignore them, they may damage us. It's police task to do it, but everybody should be more or less be responsible for what happens around him, at least where they live. Lesson is that it is dangerous to live ignorant life and ignore even small warnings we may notice in neighborhood. Movie is filled with fear, worry, hope, expectation, excitement, mystery, seek and hide. There is positive ending that brings us feeling of salvation and freedom. Had this movie just a bit more details, it could be worth 10 stars.
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Superior TV movie
Woodyanders23 June 2022
Warning: Spoilers
Teenager Elizabeth Shoaf (a fine and appealing portrayal by Julia Lalonde) gets abducted by sexual predator Vinson Filyaw (a creepy and convincing performance by Henry Thomas), who keeps Elizabeth hostage in an underground bunker located deep in the woods.

Writer/director Stephen Kemp relates the absorbing story at a steady pace, makes nice use of the beautiful verdant countryside, maintains a serious tone throughout, generates a good deal of claustrophobic tension, and wisely avoids lurid sensationalism. The sound acting from the capable cast helps a lot: Lalonde and especially Thomas do sterling work in their roles, with sturdy support from Moira Kelly as worried mother Madeline, Stephen Park as concerned father Don, and Neil Napier as by-the-book Sheriff Thompson. Well worth a watch.
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Montayj14 April 2019
The moral of a movie shown on Lifetime, 1st let's try to make R. Kelley the face of pedophilia while we promote our own movie about pedophilia. Movie should be banned for it's creepiness. This is why I stopped watching Lifetime a year ago because too many of their movies are starting to have that sick underlying message. Bored yesterday and messed up and put it on that horrible channel just to witness this nonsense.
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