“The first Uber paranoia film?”
I was kinda amused by the concept here, which tells the story of law student Trudy (Savre), who is drugged and raped after getting into what she thinks is a “NetCar” – a thinly-disguised Uber – vehicle, only to find it driven by a predator who waits near venues for vulnerable (read, “drunk”) young women, who are expecting the
Uber… sorry, the “NetCar” they ordered to show up. The police are, as typical in this kind of TV movie, powerless to help, and it’s up to Savre and her roommate, Gretchen (Raisa) to track down the perpetrator. To that end, Trudy becomes a NetCar driver herself, seeking to stop the rapist before any more women fall victim to him. Her new career puts Trudy in the way of further danger, after a pair of gangbangers get into her car, yet also brings her potential romance in the cute, well-off shape of investment advisers Donovan (Davis).
My amusement was partly due to family history, as Chris was (for a couple of months) an Uber driver for some extra money. Turned out not to be worth her effort for the return – but nor was her life as a driver anywhere near as exciting as Trudy’s. Chris was never hijacked by anyone, to go pick up one of their friends who’d been shot, for instance. Nor did she meet any cute, well-off investment advisers. Not that she told me, anyway. For this is a neo-Luddite scare story, about the dangers of a technological innovation, which carefully ignores things like, for example, the fact that anyone who calls an Uber car can then see exactly where it is on the app – so would surely know, even if utterly drunk, it was not pulled up in front of them. But why let that get in the way of a made-for-Lifetime slab of misandry?
For, make no mistake, that’s what it is: there is literally not a man in the film who is what I would call a decent human being, being a selection of sexists and creepers, when not actually rapey. After a couple of movies from Lifetime that have actually been solid (Big Driver and Deliverance Creek), this was definitely a step back into the cliches for which their previous output was somewhat notorious. That said, as a pulpy pot-boiler of entertainment, it’s competently created, with Savre a credible enough heroine who has a nice arc after her assault, going through the various stages of reaction on her way to deciding Something Must Be Done. It’s not too hard to see where this is going to end up, and the script in general offers few, if any, surprises – one, to be precise. Yet I can’t deny a certain gratification is provided by the final resolution, though I’d probably still have preferred justice involving a more “bullet to genitals” approach. Probably not very Lifetime-friendly that, though…
Dir: John Stimpson
Star: Danielle Savre, Jackson Davis, Francia Raisa, Christina Elmore
a.k.a. Black Car