Taken in Montana (2023 Lifetime)


Taken in Montana (2023 Lifetime)

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Cast: Veronica Ramirez, Laurie Fortier, Justin Berti, Matthew Pohlkamp

Director: Kaila York

Writer: Brandi Sperry

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

When her parents go missing on their family vacation, teen Regan must put the clues together to find them — but she may be trusting the wrong people to help, putting herself in danger. Veronica Ramirez, Laurie Fortier, Justin Berti, Matthew Pohlkamp star. (2023)

Recap/Wine Thoughts. 

Inspired by True Events.

The movie starts off with some shots mountian in Montana, even the airport looks like a ski lodge. Craig, his workaholic wife Sarah (Lifetime All Star, Laurie Fortier), and their teenage daughter Regan are on vacation from NYC. They appear to be the perfect family until you look a little closer. Sarah seems over the vacation from the get go and randomly buys a pocket knife from a candy selling tween. Craig is obessed with the scenic views and Regan just wants to drive. (They also later refer to it as the “last family vacation, soooooo what up with that?!)

Like, could they be more happy?

While on the road, Regan almost gets into an accident after her high strung mother screams about a rabbit in the road. The other driver in a red pick up truck drive agressively and rams into the back of their car. The family is rattled and pulls off the road. The driver follows them and stares them down before angrily driving off. A cute park ranger named named Jude witnesses the whole thing and offers to make a report, but the family declines. (Sarah is actually super rude to Ranger Jude when he asks where they are staying.

How could you be rude to a ranger this cute, Laurie Fortier?!?!

When checking into the lodge, the family runs into an old friend named Jackson Green. (AKA Matthew Pohlkamp in a cowboy hat.) He happens to own the lodge and invites Craig to join him for a drink while Sarah gets a facial. The men discuss an “arrangement” they made a while back when they reconnected at a college reunion.(Do people even go to those?) Jackson Green seems put off and asks Craig to meet with the town mayor and then they can end on good terms. They share a handshake and Craig asks Jackson to keep the “arrangement” to themselves.

Regan sneaks out into the wilderness with some gear to fall asleep under the stars. A jock hiking guide named Tyler follows her, but maybe in a romantic way? He sends her to a popular camping spot and nicknames Regan “City Girl.” (Ewww!)

She isn’t the only one sneaking out in the middle of the night. Craig attempts to leave without Sarah noticing, and she interrogates him on his comings and goings. Craig tells Sarah that he is embarrassed and has to deliver some documents. She insist on going with him so they can stargaze too. They are unknowing meeting the man with the red pick up truck.
(Who turns out to be kind of jacked and has poor fashion sense.) The documents include a note that says, “KILL THE MESSENGER.” (The man in the cut-off flannel attempts to do so, but Sarah interrupts him. He ties them up in the garage and calls Jackson Green and asks for double the price.)

Iconic wardrobe, honestly.

Sarah uses the pocket knife she randomly purchased early on in the movie to cut herself free. (That didn’t take long to payoff!) She attempts to wake up Craig, who has been knocked unconscious, before sneaking into the cabin to read the documents. Then, she rushes back to the garage to pretend to be tied up until she can devise a plan.

Regan, surprisingly, survives the night and heads back to the lodge, surprised to find her parents have gone AWOL. She calls her dad and tips off Cut Off Flannel Guy. Sarah and Craig lie and say Regan is in New York to protect her from being kidnapped next.

Regan finally decides to check the local hospitals and be proactive. Regan rents a bike from the front desk and searches the mountians for her parents. Regan rents a bike from the front desk and searches the mountains for her parents. Jackson Green follows her while he wears a Canadian Tuxedo. When she pulls into the ranger station, he dips out. The rangers aren’t helpful, even Jude! (Hey, Jude!) Next, she asks Tyler for help and he takes her to his uncle, Jackson Green (in his full denim.)

He looks good in anything, and this proves it.

Meanwhile, Sarah and Craig escape the garage with a crowbar. Craig beats the Cut Off Flannel Guy before they race to the car. He chases after them with a crossbow and his signature red pickup truck. (Cue a high speed car chase!) They crash the car, and Craig gets shot by an arrow while running away. Sarah pulls the arrow from Craig’s leg and uses the sleave OF HER FLANNEL as a tunicate. (Now she is the cut-off flannel gal!)

Regan uses “find your location” to track down her mom, and Tyler helps her to that spot. He offers to call his uncle, and Regan iconically says that she doesn’t want to keep asking men to help her when they all have been brushing her off and gaslighting her. The signal drops when they reach the woods, and Tyler says it is too dangerous to search the woods. Instead of arguing, Regan shares a story about throwing a house party that gets out of hand, disappointing her parents and jeopardizing their trust in her.

Jude tracks Regan down and tells her that her parents are involved with some dangerous poachers he has been investigating. Regan is surprised to hear that Tyler’s uncle is one of the people Jude has been looking into. Regan calls Tyler and gets a back feeling. Her gut is right because Tyler is working with Jackson Green and kills the Cut Off Flannel Guy for losing track of Craig and Sarah.

Jude and Regan plan to search Jackson Green’s office for clues. Regan overhears a conversation between Tyler and Jackson Green. She learns that Jackson Green was expelled from College for jumping into a football brawl. Jackson took the fall, and Craig has been paying up to keep it a secret since then. (Or something, the whole thing is a bit too much, and not very interesting.)

Regan pretends to be into Tyler and meets him at a bonfire to get more information. (I think she puts a tracker in his backpack?)

Sarah and Craig are lost deep in the Montana wilderness. They talk about their relationship while Sarah sharpens a stick into a stake like she is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Craig admits to taking a lone from Jackson Green and he knew about the whole poaching thing. Wolves show up, and the couple are on the move again.

There is a scene between the sheriff and Jackson Green with a lot of (probably projected on my part) sexual tension.

Find yourself a man who looks at you like this!

Regan and Jude follow Tyler into the woods the next day by tracing his tracker. He knows they are following him, grabs Regan, and holds her with a large knife. Then Tyler knocks Jude out with a rock before returning his focus to Regan. Sarah hears her daughter scream and comes to the rescue. They tie Tyler to a tree.

Jackson Green waltzes up with a crossbow and demands to know where Craig is. He belittles Tyler for failing, giving Craig enough time to tackle his nemesis. Everyone is saved, but it is a close call for Craig. (Who ends up in the hospital. Where he promsies no more lies, and shows some leg!)

Sarah tells her daughter that she is proud of her and they thank Jude for everything. Jude promises to keep in touch via old-fashioned letters, and Regan is like, “WTF?” Then she kisses him anyway—the end.

Side Note/Stray Thoughts

Minority Report: Craig, Regan, Jude, receptionist, 

The commercial breaks were so abrupt in this one. It hindered the movie’s rhythm big time. 

Overall rating 

Numbers of Kills: 🔪 (1 knife)

Enjoyment Level (1-5 scale): 🍷🍷 (2 Glasses of Wine)

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