Plot: Trudy (Danielle Savre) is a criminology student and she is consumed with her studies, to the point that her best friend is a little worried, as she seems to have little social interaction or fun nights out. Her friend Gretchen (Francia Raisa) finally wears her down and a night on the town follows, after which Trudy books a NetCar ride home, but things then take a dark turn. The next thing she knows, she wakes up naked in a strange motel room, with no recollection of what happened or how she wound up in this horrific position. As a student of the criminal law process, she knows to get a rape kit done soon and she tries to do all she can to give the police the best chance to solve the case and deliver justice. But when the case moves slowly and an arrest seems unlikely, Trudy decides to take matters into her own hands and put her criminal law knowledge to the test.
Entertainment Value: This is an interesting one, as The Wrong Car takes the well worn rape/revenge genre and not only updates the concept, but puts a fresh spin on the premise that pushes in some new directions. Trudy is driven to take down her rapist, but she approaches the hunt from a unique perspective, using her knowledge of the justice system and law enforcement procedure to chase down results. The movie stays rooted in familiar elements, especially the limitations faced when trying to pursue rape cases, but as I said, adds plenty of new twists and turns. The use of a ride share service helps make the narrative feel current and relevant, while the story is mostly grounded and comes across as believable. This is a Lifetime movie, so some melodrama creeps in, but this is more restrained than most of the network’s movies. That is a double edged sword, as some love the wild drama and others appreciate a more dialed down approach, but I think most Lifetime fans will find enough to like here, regardless of their preferences when it comes to melodrama.
I also appreciate that The Wrong Car has a good pace and little filler, especially once Trudy begins her person investigation. The movie runs about 86 minutes, so there’s little downtime and the exposition is front loaded, but even so, never feels slow and none of that time is wasted. As the movie centers on Trudy, it was important to land a skilled performer in that lead role and here, we have Danielle Savre. I think she is more than capable and handles both the emotion beats and the relentless drive, both crucial elements for the role. She keeps Trudy grounded and doesn’t take things over the top, so the character feels natural and believable. Francia Raisa also turns in some terrific work here as Trudy’s best friend, while Kevin G. Cox shows some potential as one of the ride share drivers. The rest of the cast is fine, if not that memorable, with Jackson Davis, Christina Elmore, and Erin Cole on hand. In the end, The Wrong Car is solid Lifetime style entertainment that makes a well worn premise seem fresh, so fans of the network should appreciate this one.