Lifetime will air the ripped-from-the-headlines horror/thriller movie Girl in the Basement, premiering Saturday, February 27.
This frightening film was produced by Big Dreams Entertainment and Swirl Films for Lifetime.
Their producers, cast, and director attended the virtual Television Critics’ Association meeting last week. Together, they discussed the terrifying plot of the film, based on several disturbing real-life events.
Girl in the Basement chronicles the story of a teenage girl, Sara (Stefanie Scott), who defies her parents and subsequently is locked in the basement of her family home by her domineering father, Don, played by Judd Nelson.
All of this was done unbeknownst to the rest of her family inside the same home.
Sara is imprisoned as her frantic mother (Joely Fisher) is devastated. As time goes on, the story becomes more nightmarish as Sara is raped by her father repeatedly and has several of his children.
She is kept there for 20 years until she escapes.
Ripped From The Headlines inspiration
Lifetime’s Girl in the Basement is part of the ‘Ripped from The Headlines‘ franchise. This disturbing film stars Stefanie Scott, Judd Nelson, and Joely Fisher.
The film is inspired by horrific real-life events stitched together with creative license by the writers. The film marks the directorial debut of actor Elisabeth Röhm (Law & Order, Angel, American Hustle).
Sara’s life seems perfectly normal as she waits for her 18th birthday to move out of the unhappy home she lives in, thanks to Don, her father, who we slowly realize is a secret monster.
Judd Nelson plays Don with a subtle yet compelling energy that belies his seemingly average, calm appearance. Inside he rages and lusts for Sara.
But before she gets to leave home, her father lures her to the basement and imprisons her in an elaborate soundproofed secret room that he artfully covers up with a bookshelf. He effectively convinces Sara’s mother, Irene (Fisher), that she ran away.
There are exhaustive crimes here, with kidnapping, imprisonment, and incest/rape leading the pack.
Judd Nelson responded to a question about the monstrous character of Don. Nelson discussed what it was like to play a vile character at the TCA panel, explaining the fictional character Don was a composite of many bad men, but he doesn’t see himself in that way.
He said: “Got kids? He’s trying to do his best for them. If they are not well behaved, they’ll be punished. Is Don extreme? Absolutely. But I don’t feel that he doesn’t have their best interests at heart…”
After birthing several children in this room underground and surviving her captivity, Sara does escape, and the devastating truth is exposed.
Lifetime’s true crime drama success
The Lifetime Network’s 2020 ‘Ripped from the Headlines’ slate was a ratings’ bonanza, with over 25 million viewers. Lifetime also recently announced a developmental deal with Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos for two ‘Ripped from the Headlines’ movies.
Elisabeth Rohm is making her directorial debut with Girl in the Basement as part of the network’s Broader Focus initiative. She will also make a cameo in the movie.
At the recorded Zoom TCA meeting, Rohm was asked about the nature of this shocking source material.
Rohm said: “Girl in the Basement is really a mixture of many different stories of abduction, sexual assault, imprisonment, and incest. So, that was intimidating unto itself because it was starting my first film in a very complex way.
“Obviously, there are some stories you may remember, like the Elisabeth Fritzl case and so forth but Girl in the Basement is really inspired by many different stories much like this, unfortunately.”
Noting there was a public service call to action, she added: “Because of that, Lifetime has committed to airing a documentary after my movie premieres where people who are either victims of this type of assault or they know somebody, they will be able to see this documentary about surviving child abduction and imprisonment.
“But also, we are offering information about RAINN, which is the largest organization for sexual assault in this country. So again, I think Girl in the Basement is a call to action. And even though that was incredibly intimidating and a big responsibility, I was inspired by Lifetime’s commitment to make it a movement instead of just a movie.”
Make sure to tune in this coming Saturday and preview with Monsters & Critics exclusive first look at the horrifying basement scene with Judd Nelson as Don:
Girl in the Basement airs Saturday, February 27 at 8pm/7c on Lifetime.