Story: Annie (Sara Canning) is a devoted wife and mother, but her husband Jacob (Steve Byers) has some long seeded doubts about their life together. The young couple is Amish and lives by those old school guidelines, but Jacob has been having a lot of thoughts about change. He has sampled the outside world, as most young Amish do, during the time of freedom known as Rumspringa, but his doubts linger and he has taken some steps that would be frowned upon. He has purchased a phone, buys alcohol, and hangs out with the outsiders, including some with questionable motives. When a confrontation turns deadly, Jacob keeps a low profile and the community refuses to cooperate with the outside police, but when Jacob runs off with he and Annie’s child, she knows she has to take action. Can she make it in the outside world, even long enough to bring her child home?
Entertainment Value: I was curious to see Lifetime’s take on the Amish lifestyle and the end result is a serious, often tense drama. The narrative is passable and does what this kind of movie needs to do, but the story is quite predictable. I don’t think that will scare off Lifetime devotees, who want the comfort from the network’s cinematic formulas, but it isn’t going to break through to more mainstream audiences, either. As return readers know, I thrive on the drama and dysfunction of Lifetime thrillers, so a more serious, grounded approach like this often leaves me cold. I think Amish Abduction is a solid drama, especially compared to its more serious peers on Lifetime, but it never sparks much beyond being a watchable picture. Very predictable, very simple, but this is Lifetime, so I doubt fans of this style will be put out by that. The Amish are shown in a pretty even handed light and the cast is decent, so for those who like more toned down Lifetime movies, this one is a decent watch.
I found the performances here to be mostly solid across the board, though there’s little craziness or psycho antics, which I missed. A psycho thriller based in the Amish country would be a fun Lifetime original, but that’s a talk for another time. The cast here does the material justice and Sara Canning proves to be the standout, in my opinion. She brings across the emotion needed for the role, as she is a mother desperate to find her child, but she keeps things reined in, never falling into melodrama or over the top hysterics. Some performers go over the top in moments like some of the ones found here, but Canning keeps it grounded, which is what the movie needs. I love a wild turn as much as anyone, but it would have stood out, given the rest of the cast’s performances. Steve Byers is also solid as the husband on the run, in a deeper than expected character. The cast also includes Ryan Bruce, Gabrielle Rose, and Marci T. House.