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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Review: 'Girl Followed'

Raising a teen isn't easy. Teenagers are emotional and rebellious. They's resistant to parental guidance and think they know it all. These days, parents have to stay on top of things or else their kids may wind up like the lead character in "Girl Followed."

This dramatic thriller recently premiered on the Lifetime Movie Network and has been in steady rotation for the past few weeks. Remember the TV show "Blossom" and how the dad had to counsel his kids on a variety of problems? Well, we see Blossom bro Joey Lawrence as the concerned parent dealing with a confused and combative kid.

Lawrence is super dad Jim. He has a great family including beautiful nurse wife Abby (Heather McComb), eldest daughter Taylor (Gianna LaPera) and Regan (Emma Fuhrmann). Regan seems to be a clean teen, but suffers from a number of insecurities. Her friends don't help matters by rubbing her nose in the fact that she doesn't have a boyfriend.

Unfortunately, the one person who tries to help her overcome her problems is Abby's co-worker Nate (Travis Caldwell). He tries to build her confidence while putting the moves on her. Complicating matters is an underwear selfie that Regan sent to a boy at school. She also shares this photo with Nate, which is her biggest mistake. Before long, this pic is everywhere (including the in-box of her dad's boss).

Regan continues to confide in Nate and starts to fall for him, especially after visiting his mansion and taking a spin in his Mercedes (both actually belong to his parents). Nate, however, isn't a complete Prince Charming. He's controlling, possessive and of course...at least 10 years her senior!  And, let's remember she's barely in high school.

Of course, it's up to mom, dad and older sister to save her ... but Nate (or N-Dog) is a pretty devious Lifetime villain.

This May-December stalker mystery is pretty entertaining. Caldwell steals the show as the super creepy Nate, and Fuhrmann offers an effective portrayal of an at-risk teen. Lawrence (who has barely aged since "Blossom") is convincing as the concerned and exasperated pop. He can't wait to put his hands on N-Dog. Wouldn't any dad want to do the same if his youngest girl was being seduced by an older creeper?

This nifty thriller teams director Tom Shell; writers Christine Conradt and Chris Lancey (the trio behind the excellent "Deadly Ex"), and Melissa Cassera (who handles screenplay duties). The audience is definitely in capable hands. Despite the creepy premise of this story, "Girl Followed" never sinks into really creepy territory -- like the real life story of the Tennessee teacher-student manhunt. Definitely check it out. It's definitely a nice addition to Lifetime and LMN programming and offers yet another cautionary tale regarding teens, social media and the dangers of older men preying on insecure girls.

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