Amber Alert (2012): Is the Movie Inspired by a True Story?

Co-written and directed by Kerry Bellessa, ‘Amber Alert’ is a 2012 found footage crime thriller movie that follows a group of close friends, including Samantha, Nathan, and Samantha’s brother Caleb with the camera, recording the audition tape for a reality show. As they drive on the interstate to get to another location to wrap up the shooting, they notice an Amber Alert sign on the highway announcing the kidnapping of a young girl and describing the car. Just after a while, the three friends spot a vehicle on the same road matching the description of the car mentioned on the sign.

Upon calling the police and letting them know about the situation, the trio gets told they can’t reach there until later. So, Samantha’s determination to save the young girl from the kidnapper makes all of them reluctantly chase the perpetrator’s car, despite the grave consequences it might cause. Besides the brilliant onscreen performances from Summer Bellessa, Chris Hill, Jasen Wade, and Caleb Thompson, what might give you the impression of the thriller film being connected to reality is its found footage-type production and the realistic themes depicted, such as kidnapping. Well, let’s find out if ‘Amber Alert’ is based on real life or not, shall we?

Amber Alert is an Original Work

No, ‘Amber Alert’ is not based on a true story. Instead, the nail-biting and realistic narrative of the movie is the result of the collaborative effort of two brilliant writers — Kerry Bellessa and Joshua Oram — primarily thanks to their creativity and writing prowess. Amber Alert is any message sent by a child abduction alert system asking the public for help locating abducted children and possibly apprehending the kidnappers. The system was created following the kidnapping and brutal murder of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman and has been used since 1996.

Soon, AMBER (America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) became an integral part of federal and state laws to protect the nation’s young ones. Unfortunately, there are thousands of missing children in real life, and child abduction cases are reported yearly, some of which are Amber Alerts. For instance, in December 2022, the Fayetteville police issued an alert for the abduction of a one-year-old child, suspected to be carried out by the infant’s 25-year-old father himself. Soon, the police canceled the sign after the child was located and found safe.

Thus, as you can see, there are hundreds of Amber alert cases each year, so it is natural for you to find the storyline of ‘Amber Alert’ familiar. Another reason why many of you might find the Kerry Bellessa directorial realistic is that the themes of kidnapping and Amber alerts has been explored in many movies and TV shows over the years, such as the 2016 movie ‘Amber Alert,’ ‘Escaping Dad,’ and ‘Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway.’ However, one of the aptest examples has to be that of the 2006 Keoni Waxman directorial ‘Amber’s Story.’

The biographical crime drama film stars Elisabeth Röhm, Teryl Rothery, Myron Natwick, and Sophie Hough and tells the true tale of Amber Hagerman, after whom the alert system was named, as mentioned above. The 9-year-old girl rides her bicycle in an abandoned grocery store parking lot, where she gets abducted and murdered after two days. Following the tragedy, her mother sets up an alert system for missing and abducted children to prevent others from going through the same.

As you might have noticed, the theme of the abduction of a young girl is common in both ‘Amber’s Story’ and ‘Amber Alert.’ Moreover, the thrilling search for the kidnapped girls in the two movies in question also holds some similarities. Hence, considering all the factors mentioned above, we can conclude that despite having realistic themes and subjects, ‘Amber Alert’ is a work of fiction.

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