Reviews | Written by Joel Harley 14/09/2021

THE GIRL WHO GOT AWAY

Decades after kidnapping and murdering four young girls, a notorious serial killer escapes prison to go after the one who got away. Christina Bowden (Lexi Johnson) managed to escape Elizabeth Caulfield’s (Kaye Tuckerman) killing spree as a child, but she may not be so lucky the second time around. Worse, Bowden has a ward of her own to think of – a young girl who might be the perfect age and type for Caulfield’s monstrous M.O.

Even worse than that, with Christina waking up every morning covered in cuts and bruises, her bare feet filthy with mud, it becomes apparent to investigating cop Jamie (Chukwudi Iwuji) that the girl who got away has some secrets of her own. Has Caulfield returned for revenge, or is Christina literally sleepwalking her way into murder?

The story is deceptively simple, recalling the murder mysteries of Wes Craven, and the slash-em-ups of John Carpenter’s Halloween. Writer and director Michael Morrissey effectively sets up the showdown between killer and kidnap victim, employing likeable characters and a solid central mystery to be solved. Flashbacks to Christina’s time in captivity keep the story ticking along, even as the plodding pace threatens to bore.

Iwuji is a strong presence as the sensitive, decent town copper, but the rest of the cast struggle to keep up. The writing requires a bit more from Johnson than she is entirely capable of, leaving her floundering during the more emotional sequences – more bemused than distraught or horrified. The film remains sharply shot and compelling to the end, but squanders the goodwill built up during that opening half. Morrissey and Johnson give it their all (or most), but ultimately fail to hold on to what they had.