The Girl in the Box
Synopsis (via Lifetime)
Based on a true story, Girl in the Box is a dark psychological drama. In May 1977, 22-year-old Colleen Stan was kidnapped by a young married couple, Cameron and Janice Hooker. For the next seven years they kept her imprisoned for up to 23 hours a day in a coffin-sized box hidden beneath their bed. When not incarcerated, Colleen became part of a strange new life as a live-in slave, family child-minder, and victim of Cameron’s bizarre and extreme S&M fantasies.
The based on a true story are tough to critique because I don’t want to seem insensitive to the actual PERSON THIS HORRIBLE THING HAPPENED TO! Especially, when that movie is based on the victims first hand account. (Spoiler alert, she survives!) After watching this movie I couldn’t determine who would find this entertaining or enjoyable to watch (or event hate watch.) The end of the movie summaries: Janice testified against Cameron in exchange for immunity. He was convicted of rape and kidnapping and sentenced to 104 years in prison in 1985. Colleen Stan said she couldn’t have gotten through the seven years with out her faith… what is the takeaway here? Can I have my two hours back?
The movie opens on that Cameron (Holtz) and Janice Hooker (Williams) in some serious 70’s garb; big glasses and mustaches. The looks doesn’t make Zane Holtz less attractive (because he is so fine!) Zelda Williams, however, certainly looks like Robin Williams daughter. They are burying a body together and my first thought was that they were burying the girl in the box in a time jump, but no it is just another girl they killed. You know what they say, “The couple who kidnap, rape, and murder together…” no. Then the movie cuts right to Colleen hitchhiking. Which if you’ve ever watched a Lifetime movie, never ends well. But it’s the 70’s so Lifetime didn’t exist then to place fear/paranoia in the hearts of women and gay men.
Colleen is immediately kidnapped and a wooden box is place over her head. She is moved to the basement where she is emotionally and physically abused. We quickly find out that Janice just goes along with Cameron’s plan because if it wasn’t Colleen, it would be her. When Colleen why this is happening, Cameron responds: “Because I can.” The couple of the year then move Colleen to a coffin sized box that slides under their bed.
Six months pass and we learn that Colleen is still being held captive and only allowed out one hour a day. In that hour she is tortured by Cameron, while Janice listens to records with headphones to drowned out the screams. (By this time, I’m on my second glass of wine.) After colleen is placed back in her box Janice tells Cameron that she is pregnant. To make sure Cameron doesn’t hurt her or the baby, Janice helps Cameron convince Colleen that she too is a sex slave. The couple makes up a story that “The Company” is watching them and they are under contract with “The Company.” They make Colleen sign the contract and change her name to “K”. Now in addition to being held captive, raped, and emotionally manipulated, she has to cook and clean!?!?!
Colleen is so brainwashed at this point that even when she is given the opportunity to escape, she is too afraid of “The Company” to leave. Cameron literally chopped his leg with an axe while they are alone in the woods and Colleen HELPS HIM.
Just when I’m beginning to wonder about the baby a grown ass child walks in. Janice had a daughter (Robin William’s daughter’s daughter.) seven years ago! Colleen (Now K) is like WTF how have I been here so long? She breaks out of the under the bed box and runs to the shower to hide… when Cameron finds her and asks for an explanation Colleen (Now K) says she had to pee.
Janice and Colleen (Now K) begin to bond and talk when Cameron is at work. The last of my notes are when Cameron decides to let Colleen (Now K) go see her family for some reason. Before they leave, to make sure she is under his control, he gives her a gun and tells her to put it in her mouth and pull the trigger. She does and then gets to see her family, who are all VERY suspicious of Cameron… but not suspicious enough to do anything about it.
Now on my 4th glass of wine, I stopped taking notes because it was kind of all too much. Eventually Janice leaves Cameron and Colleen because she is jealous and can’t do it anymore. At this point Cameron takes Colleen (K) and puts her in a hole in the ground… Buffalo Bill style. Somehow Janice frees Colleen and tell her “The Company” was all made up. We see Colleen riding back home on a bus as the where are they now titles scroll across the screen.
While researching the real case I found out that the bed they kept her under was a water bed, which further confirms my distaste for water beds and the people who own them.
The real Cameron Hooker was denied parole in 2015. Bye Felicia!
Girl in the Box‘s writer-director-executive producer Steven Kemp and executive producer Charles Tremayne, are back this Memorial Day Weekend for Girl in a Bunker.
🍷🍷🍷🍷(4 glasses of wine required)
*images via: IMDB