You know me. I’m a sucker for new Lifetime movies on a Saturday night. And tonight, Lifetime combined two of my guilty pleasures: TV movie thrillers and Stephen King.
If you don’t know the story of Big Driver, which is based on a novella by King, here’s a quick summary:
Tess Thorne, a famous and revered mystery and thriller writer played by Maria Bello, faces a long drive home following a book signing engagement. After taking a shortcut on a remote road on her way home, Tess’ tire blows out, leaving her stranded. When another driver stops and offers his assistance, Tess quickly discovers her savior is actually her assailant, a serial killer who repeatedly assaults her. Left for dead in a drainage pipe to rot with the bodies of his other victims, Tess escapes and makes her way home. With her fragile mind beginning to unravel, she is determined to find her rapist and seek revenge, as payback is the only thing holding her together.
Needless to say, it’s a rather grim story. And yet, when I tuned into the screener that was sent my way, I was shocked at the brutality and graphic nature of the movie. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart.
I was expecting just another Lifetime thriller. It was not. It was dark and gruesome, much more brutal than I would have figured for a Lifetime movie. In fact, had I known a little more about the story, I probably would have come to the movie with different expectations and braced myself for some of the content (take note, future watchers).
But Tess’ “unravelling” was incredibly interesting — and Bella did a great job with it. It’s not just about a victim and an attacker; it’s about the dark recesses of someone’s mind and what happens when that darkness is tapped. And while I have mixed feelings about some specific elements of the plot, the psychological elements compensated for some of those weaknesses.
It was an interesting one to watch, and if you’re someone who is ok with seeing some rather upsetting moments (remember, rape is involved), you should watch it. The way the movie was filmed and the way Tess’ inner thoughts came alive in front of her was uniquely done, and I enjoyed that aspect of it. (It also made me want a new GPS, and if you watch, you’ll see why.)
Will it be a light Saturday night? Heavens no. But it did intrigue me enough to want to read King’s novella. And it never hurts for me to expand my horizons beyond rom coms and my usual light TV movie fare.
Big Driver premieres tonight at 8/7c on Lifetime.
*Photo by Lifetime/Zach Dilgard