The Disappearance of Cari Farver (2022 Lifetime)

The Disappearance of Cari Farver (2022 Lifetime)

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Cast: Alicia Witt, Lea Thompson, Zach Gilford, Rebecca Amzallag

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

The Disappearance of Cari Farver is based on a true story and the subject of Leslie Rule’s bestselling true-crime book A Tangled Web. Dave Kroupa (Zach Gilford, Good Girls, Friday Night Lights) is shocked when his new girlfriend, Cari Farver (Rebecca Amzallag), starts sending him demanding texts. When Dave ends the relationship, he finds himself on the receiving end of an onslaught of twisted messages from Cari, who has abruptly disappeared. Dave’s ex-girlfriend, Liz (Alicia Witt, Friday Night Lights, The Walking Dead), also begins receiving harassing texts from Cari, resulting in a dangerous situation for them both. Meanwhile, Cari’s mother, Nancy (Lea Thompson, Back to the Future, Switched at Birth), continually searches for her, keeping the pressure on the police, who eventually uncover a shocking discovery.

Recap/Wine Thoughts

This is another ripped-from-the-headlines movie. Read about the real-life 2012 case here. 

The movie starts with a 911 call from a woman who has been shot in a park by another woman. 

Flash to 4 months earlier in a dance club. (Hopefully, on Halloween because these outfits are silly.) Alicia Witt is back on Lifetime after a long stint at Hallmark, and she is really going for it and immediately hooking up with a handsome man on the roof of the bar.

She plays Liz, an older woman who wants to be in a committed relationship. The reason she picked Dave Kroupa (Zach Gilford from Friday Night Lights) is perplexing because he is not interested in a monogamous relationship since he just got out of a twelve-year relationship with a woman named Sara Bower. (Who is also raising his two children.)

While working as a mechanic, Dave meets a woman named Cari Farver and asks her on a date. Cari has a sixteen-year-old son named Sam, who she is raising with the help of her mother, Nancy. Cari and Dave bond over being parents. He brings Cari home for some wine, and the date is interrupted by Liz, who lost her keys. 

Annoyed, Dave calls Cari and goes over to her place for some sex. They agree to only hook up as friends and keep things casual. The relationship builds over time to include jogging, yard sales shopping, and old movie watching. The picture-perfect romance is shattered when Cari’s ex-boyfriend shows up angry over a restraining order. Cari stays at Dave’s apartment for her safety.

Dave brings Liz her iPad and attempts to end things, but she seduces him, and Dave feels terrible for sleeping with her. Cari couldn’t care less and tells him they aren’t exclusive, and it is okay. Then the next day, she sends angry texts after messaging him to move in together, and he says no. 

Nancy Farver becomes concerned after her work calls to check to see if Cari is okay because she hasn’t been at work in a few days. Then Cari misses a wedding but continues to text. Sam tells his grandma that something is wrong and that finally provokes Nancy to go to the police. 

Cari has suffered from some mental health issues and has gone missing before. The detective doesn’t seem too concerned but promises to look into it after getting a list of men Cari has been dating recently. 

Liz finds her apartment vandalized with spray paint reading “Dave’s Whore.” Dave keeps receiving disturbing messages from Cari, and the texts also threaten Liz and start coming to both their phones. Dave thinks that Cari is crazy and helps Liz fix her house. They start spending time together.  

Nancy receives a text from Cari stating that she is moving to Witchita for a new job opportunity and essentially abandons her son. Nancy becomes concerned that her daughter has gone off her bipolar medication. 

Things don’t go better for the Farver family when Nancy’s husband, Dennis, chokes on a dinner roll and DIES. Cari misses the funeral and sends a text.

Dave gets a text message while he is getting out of the shower. (Thank you for that shirtless Zach Gilford, Lifetime.) The message includes a photoshopped picture of Liz bound and gagged in the back of the trunk. Dave calls the police, but then Liz calls and tells him she is fine.

The couple starts to jump every time the phone chimes. Then they really feel in danger when Liz’s house is set on fire, and her dogs are inside. 

Things aren’t adding up. The detectives decide to split up work and determine if Cari is alive or dead. Liz visits the station and hands over her phone for a tech download. She accuses Cari AND Dave’s ex-wife Sara of being potential harassers.

Then Nancy gets a call from a man who works for a woman’s shelter claiming that Cari was staying there. Nancy and Sam wait around, hoping they will see her, but she never shows. 

Dave’s house is the next to get vandalized, and he also has messages sent to former dates from his phone. Dave buys a gun to protect himself. 

After a fight with Dave, Liz goes to a park and cries. It is there that Liz is shot and calls 911, claiming it was Sara Brower. Sara Brower is arrested and subject to a lie detector test. (Do they still use these for real?) The detectives also take prints for Sara AND Liz.

The tech guy at the station learns that Liz called Cari 6 times before she disappeared. He also sees that Liz has been using an app called PreText to send harassing messages. They call Dave to warn him that Liz could be dangerous and identify her as the stalker. 

Dave meets with the detective, who tells him Liz is most likely responsible for Cari’s death. He breaks things off with Liz and tells her that he will move back in with Sara and his kids. Liz freaks out on him and creates a scene at a restaurant. 

Then the detectives bring Liz in for questioning and tell her they have found a body. This is a lie to get a confession, which Liz sends from Sara’s email in an attempt to frame the woman. It’s a good bluff from the detectives. 

After a rock is thrown through Sara’s window, Liz is finally arrested, and a search warrant is granted to the detectives. They find Cari’s iPad. Liz asks for a lawyer when the detectives show deleted photos of Liz’s body, including an identifying tattoo. A Chinese symbol for “Mother.” 

Liz is convicted of second-degree murder and put in jail for life.

Sam and his grandmother Nancy cry by Cari’s gravesite and promise to live a good life in her honor. 

Side Note

Minority Report: James, Detective,

It doesn’t seem like the family was involved in the making of this film.

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Overall rating

Should you watch it?

Pour it up! (Give it a shot)

Put a Cork in It (Skip It)

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*Photo Credit: © 2022 Lifetime® | A+E Networks®

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