Kidnapped in Paradise (2021 Lifetime)
Synopsis (via Lifetime)
Savannah Duke-Morgan realizes her lifetime dream to bring her husband Brad and her five-year-old daughter Aria back to her birthplace on the Gold Coast of Australia until it turns into her worst nightmare when Aria goes missing from the resort’s Kidz Klub. Suspicions point everywhere, but ultimately the dangerous, heart-pounding race to find the little girl alive culminates with the discovery that Savannah has a secret half-sister. (2021)
The movie begins with a woman running for her life through a tropical paradise. So, typical Lifetime.
Cut to five days earlier; Savannah is a busy, work-obsessed mother celebrating her daughter Aria’s birthday with her husband, Brad. They are planning a family getaway to Australia. They received the vacation through an online offer. (Nothing shady about that!) Is Savannah from there originally? I think so, but she doesn’t have an Australian accent.
We see a lot of stock footage of animals and Australia. It is practically a tourism commercial. Aria loves the country and is very excited to play in the… daycare center at the resort. A redheaded concierge named Gabby shows them around the place. Aria goes missing almost immediately. The movie is called KIDNAPPED IN PARADISE. It turns out she is just hiding under the cabin. Savannah and Brad meet their Australian neighbors, Nick and Gabby, who struggle to become parents and are oversharers. (They are beautiful, and the accents make them hotter.)
The next day, Savannah and Brad drop Aria off at resort daycare to enjoy a day of hiking, couples massages, and cocktails. When Savannah returns, she is surprised to learn Jane isn’t working anymore and Aria is missing. Pete, the new staff on duty, essentially kicks Savannah out for creating a scene. (Which is not good customer service. A Child is MISSING!)
The parents put together a search party with whoever will help. They accuse Pete of being negligent, which he is. The police are contacted, and they act like kids go missing all the time, and this is NBD.
4 hours of Aria missing, and Savannah and Brad are already blaming one another. The search is called off because it is getting dark outside. Back in the suite, Savannah overhears her neighbors arguing.
With the search called off, Savannah does her own investigating. She interrogates Jane while she is floating on her back in a pond and then sneaks into the crime scene that is marked off. Savannah runs into Brad, who is also lurking around the crime scene. Savannah shows him Aria’s bunny, Mr. Pickles, that she would NEVER leave behind. (The husband is up to something shady.) Then they hang up flyers! (But also, someone immediately takes them down.)
15 hours missing, Pete comes forward with new evidence to the police. Savannah receives threatening text messages and demands the police search EVERY HOUSE IN AUSTRALIA?!?! She is being a bit unreasonable but is comforted by Brad, who I do not trust. (He might be a hunk, but he is shady.) The police go door to door and get a hot tip about a woman in a green dress. Then we see Aria with her captor happily drawing pictures. She must know whoever has taken her because Aria is extremely well adjusted. She is also in a room decorated with her name all over it.
24 hours missing, Savannah overhears conversations and learns that one of the police officers also has a young daughter. They bond. Jane and Pete are hooking up and hiding some arm tattoos. Savannah sees it all and accuses Jane of lying to her. Jane continues to be supportive and denies any wrong doing.
While taking a nap, someone breaks into Savannah’s villa and takes photos of her as she sleeps. They also steal Mr. Pickles and leave a red ribbon from Aria’s hair that she was wearing when she was kidnapped. She calls Brad to tell him what happened and heads over to Nick and Gabby’s to eavesdrop. Her suspicions are confirmed when she sees Gabby throwing out a green dress. Could Gabby have taken her daughter? No. Savannah looks through old photos and sees the tattoo that is on Pete’s arm in the background of a picture of Aria. Savannah calls the police and learns the tattoo is a human trafficking cult????
Savannah has some flashbacks that are vague and confusing to me. They are at least shot with a green overlay, so that is nice!
Brad is out “searching” too. He interrogates a shady boatman who has been lurking around the whole movie. Then he follows a golf cart through the woods to staff corridors. Brad pretends to be a deliveryman and bursts into the house and is hit in the head and tied up. Savannah isn’t far behind but is sent off into the woods by Jane. She is responsible for the kidnapping, and Peter’s gang is helping.
Savannah realizes what is going on and tries to stop Pete as he is running off. Jane has already left with the child leaving behind Aria’s drawings, which serve as clues. Jane is Savannah’s long lost sister. Savannah realizes this, and the flashbacks suddenly make sense.
Jane is officially on the run and heading to the pier to get the first boat off of the island. She knocks out the lady cop and rushes to the shore. Savannah chases after them on foot and screams for her daughter. Savannah climbs a fence and jumps onto the boat to save her daughter.
Jane pulls a gun on Savannah and calls their father a deadbeat. Jane grew up in foster care and never had the loving support that Savannah did. The father didn’t want anything to do with Jane and called Savannah his “real family.” Jane arranged the whole thing as an elaborate revenge plot.
Savannah tries to reason with Jane, but they eventually struggle over the gun in front of a screaming Aria. The gun goes flying, and then they struggle over some boating device. Aria begs “Auntie Jane” not to hurt her mother and tells her that she loves her. It works, and Jane comes to her senses. Jane is arrested, and Pete walks away free. Savannah promises to put Jane into some serious therapy. Which is good! Jane needs it.
Minority Report: Pete, Police officer, Receptionist,
Also known as Kidnapped, which is too close to Halle Barry’sBarry’s Kidnap, which also airs on Lifetime,
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