Who doesn’t enjoy being their own film critic when viewing a movie? On Thursday, Sept.14, Hulu released “Girl in the Closet,” a film following a ten-year-old girl named Cameron, played by Daijah Peters, as she is held captive with other people in the basement of her aunt’s home.
The movie begins like a typical true crime film: viewers see one of the victims being beaten after trying to secretly escape. But within seconds the promising start quickly falls apart as the scene changes to Cameron’s birthday party. While it is a film, it felt extremely scripted with how little chemistry there is between the actors. The homes were decorated and designed as if they were a prop rather than lived-in.
In the film, it is hinted that Aunt Mia (Tami Roman), and her sister Patricia (Remy Ma) — Cameron’s mom — had a difficult childhood. After their argument, it alludes that Patricia still has some resentment towards Mia. Later on in the film, Patricia suffers an aneurysm and wakes up three weeks later in the hospital. Patricia is then visited by Mia and learns she cared for Cameron while she was in the hospital. Patricia then decides it is in the best interest of her daughter to be in Mia’s care until she gets better.
“Aunt Mia is family, she would never hurt me,” says Cameron. Patricia replies, “Unfortunately, sometimes the ones that hurt us the most are family.”
Once at Mia’s house, Mia asks her husband Chris (Stevie Baggs Jr.), to take Cameron to her room. Chris then proceeds to pick up Cameron and lock her in the basement where there are three other hostages. As time passes, the three other hostages celebrate Cameron’s 16th birthday in the basement by giving her a slice of cake and pieces of grass as a surprise since she had not been outside in a long time.
Throughout the movie, there are relevant aspects of Christianity displayed. In the beginning, Cameron is shown asking her mother where God is, and her mother answers that he is everywhere all at once. But while Cameron is in her aunt’s home, Mia is shown talking to Chris about how she does not understand why Cameron is still praying to God. Mia says, “I don’t know why. It ain’t helped her yet.”
Despite some claiming that the film is based on a true story, it is instead loosely inspired by one. According to The Dallas Morning News, eight-year-old Lauren Kavanaugh was found in a closet extremely malnourished in 2001. She was the one child out of the six children who was kept in a 4-foot wide and 9-foot deep closet. It’s apparent that the writers took the liberty of expanding on the original concept.
Overall, the film lacked chemistry between characters and had a bland storyline. The film felt like a great portrayal of a high school play. Since the movie is one hour and 27 minutes long, it is a great film to watch if you have time to kill. If you’re a film enthusiast, maybe this one should be kept off of your must-watch list; unless you enjoy bad movies! While it is poorly written, it does shine a light on the horrific events that humans can endure.