With Peter Sullivan filling the director’s chair, Lifetime’s ‘Secrets in the Desert’ is a thriller film that revolves around a loving couple — Charlie and Aiden — whose car breaks down in the middle of nowhere while they are on a road trip through the desert. On one hand, Aiden calls for a tow truck and waits near their broken-down vehicle. On the other hand, Charles visits a nearby diner to get some help. When she gets back, Aiden is nowhere to be found, leading to her being intensely worried about her lover.
As Charles finds herself all alone in a strange town, she realizes that she is their only hope of getting out of there alive and breathing. Featuring impressive performances from Kayleigh Ruller, Cailin McDonald, Alex Trumble, Emmanuel Jalbert, Christopher Sky, and Kelli Dawn Hancock, the movie touches upon a number of true-to-life themes and elements, such as disappearance and kidnapping, which are closely associated with reality. Thus, it is natural for you to pose the question — Is ‘Secrets in the Desert’ based on true events or not? Well, in that case, let’s delve into the details and explore the same, shall we?
Secrets in the Desert’s Origins
No, ‘Secrets in the Desert’ is not based on a true story. It is the screenwriters — Robert Dean Klein and Peter Sullivan — who are credited for the script of the Lifetime production. Having collaborated on other thriller films like ‘As Luck Would Have It,’ ‘To Kill a Stepfather,’ and ‘Deceived by My Mother-in-Law,’ the duo made the most of their creative minds, experience in the industry, and excellent penmanship to conjure up the enthralling yet seemingly realistic screenplay for the thriller.
The theme of getting stranded and lost in a remote location is not something unheard of in real life. For instance, around April 2022, an Indiana couple got stranded in the mountainous, forested high-desert in the remote Silver Peak area of Esmeralda County and went missing for more than a week. When the rescuers found the couple, the husband was already dead but the wife received the necessary treatment at a local Reno, Nevada hospital.
Another primary reason why many of you might find the themes and elements of ‘Secrets in the Desert’ familiar is that they have been explored in a number of movies and TV shows over the years. One of the aptest examples has to be that of Lifetime’s ‘Disappearance in Yellowstone.’ The Tony Dean Smith directorial is a crime thriller film that is centered around a mother and her daughter, but the central themes of the breaking down of their car and one of them going missing in a remote location, are similar to ‘Secrets in the Desert.’ When Jessie’s car breaks down and leaves her stranded with her 17-year-old daughter Michelle in the middle of a desolate national park, she goes looking for help.
Upon returning with the local mechanic Grant, Jessie realizes that Michelle is not in the car and is probably kidnapped. With the police suspecting Jessie to be the culprit, she must track down her daughter before she is harmed. Even some of the details in the storylines of both the Lifetime productions run parallel, giving you a sense of familiarity. Thus, even though there are various realistic themes and elements present throughout the plot, it would be safe to say that ‘Secrets in the Desert’ is not rooted in reality as it is a work of fiction.