Abduction is one of the most popular plot devices used in crime movies. Kidnapping just happens to be fodder for great drama, and thus, we see it on-screen so often. Its mix of action and thriller, and sometimes even humor, makes it one of the most versatile genres where a story can be told in myriad ways, even if, seemingly, the bottom line remains the same. The thrill of watching an abduction movie unfold makes it one of the more popular genres, and streaming services like Hulu keep a collection of some great films for its viewers.
9. Stolen (2012)
Directed by Simon West, ‘Stolen’ follows family man/bank thief Will Montgomery (Nicolas Cage) who, along with his partner Vincent (Josh Lucas) and two other guys, plan to steal $10 million from a bank. During the robbery, an altercation between Will and Vincent takes place in which the latter receives a bullet in the leg. With the cops on the way, Vincent manages to escape in the van while leaving Will behind with the money. To get rid of the evidence, Will burns all the money but is arrested by the FBI. He is sent to prison and is released after 8 years. But things are far from over as his teenage daughter Alison (Sami Gayle) is kidnapped by Vincent who wants the $10 million from William in 12 hours. Will William look for the money or look for a way to find his daughter? To find out what he does in this race against time, you can watch the film here.
8. Girl in the Shed: The Kidnapping of Abby Hernandez (2022)
This horrifying film is based on a true case of kidnapping, that of 14-year-old Abby Hernandez who was abducted by a guy named Nathaniel Kibby while she was returning home from school in North Conway, New Hampshire, on October 9, 2013. She was held in captivity for 9 months in a soundproof shipping container on Kibby’s secluded property during which she was mentally and physically abused in various ways. However, she managed to befriend him and he eventually let her go while warning her to not inform the police. Abby returned home on July 20, 2014, and Nathaniel was arrested on July 28, 2014, from Gorham. Abby’s suffering, endurance, and strength along with her mother Zenya’s desperation to find her have been portrayed in the film in a powerful manner. Lindsay Navarro plays the role of Abby Hernandez, Ben Savage plays the role of Nathaniel Kibby and Erica Durance plays the role of Zenya. ‘Girl in the Shed: The Kidnapping of Abby Hernandez’ can be streamed here.
7. Girl in the Bunker (2018)
This film shows the real-life tragic kidnapping, torture, and rape of 14-year-old Elizabeth Shoaf (Julia Lalonde) by Vinson Filyaw (Henry Thomas), a construction worker, in Lugoff, South Carolina, in 2006 (September 6). She managed to escape after spending 10 days in captivity (an 8×8 underground bunker dug by Filyaw) after having managed to befriend Filyaw by making conversation. Filyaw even set up booby traps near the entrance of the bunker in case someone came looking. To get a better account of things as they happened, you can watch the film here.
6. Held (2020)
Directed by Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing, ‘Held’ is a mystery thriller movie that features talented actors like Jill Awbrey, Bart Johnson, Rez Kempton, and Zack Gold. The story revolves around a couple struggling with serious marital issues who decide to reconnect and give their relationship a fair chance by going for a vacation in a high-end remote rental. While the plans sound amazing, the duo faces an unexpected threat after they are held hostage by the automated security system. Soon, an unseen voice begins to dictate every single move of the couple, and if they fail to comply, the husband and wife face the risk of suffering painful punishments. You can check out the movie here.
5. No Exit (2022)
Directed by Damien Power, ‘No Exit’ is a thriller based on Taylor Adams’ 2017 novel of the same name. It tells the story of addict Darby Thorne (Havana Rose Liu), who escapes from rehab to meet her mother in the hospital but ends up in a visitor’s center due to a blizzard. This is where things start getting complicated as she finds a kid locked inside a car that belongs to one of the people inside the center. The blizzard has compromised any kind of communication with emergency authorities, and it is up to her to find out who the culprit(s) is, as well as protect the kid. To know how she figures all this out, you can stream the movie here.
4. Abducted: The Carlina White Story (2012)
This film tells the true story of Carlina White who was kidnapped as a 19-day-old infant from Harlem Hospital, New York City, in 1984, by Ann Pettway (real name Annugetta Pettway, played by Aunjanue Ellis) who was desperate for a baby after having had multiple miscarriages. Carline was raised as Nejdra “Netty” Nance (played by Keke Palmer) in Bridgeport, Connecticut. However, with time Netty realized the possibility that Ann might not be her real mother, and upon reaching out to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, she was reunited with her biological parents in 2011 (23 years after she was taken). Ann Pettway was sentenced to 12 years in prison on kidnapping charges. Carlina’s biological parents Joy White and Carl Tyson are played by Sherri Shepherd and Roger Cross respectively. You can watch the film here.
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3. Disappearance at Clifton Hill (2019)
Written by Albert Shin and James Schult, ‘Disappearance at Clifton Hill’ is a Canadian thriller movie that stars Tuppence Middleton, Hannah Gross, and David Cronenberg. The Albert Shin directorial revolves around Abby, a young woman who inherits a motel after her mother’s death, which prompts her return to the idyllic Niagara Falls tourist town. Although she hopes that it will be a new start to her life, things take a turn for the worse when she can’t let go of the memories of an unsolved crime that happened when she was young. Determined to get to the bottom of the issue, she ends up exposing the horrific side of her hometown that has been hidden from her until now. You may watch the film here.
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2. Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey (2018)
Directed by Jim Donovan, this is based on the true story of the kidnapping of 17-year-old Lisa McVey (Katie Douglas) by serial killer Bobby Joe Long (Rossif Sutherland) from Tampa, Florida in 1984 ( November 3). She was raped for 26 hours before Long decided to get rid of her and brought her to the woods to kill her but upon pleading, let her go as she had managed to gain his trust. However, in the 26 hours she was held at his apartment, she left evidence and memorized as much as she could. This is what allowed the police to locate Long who was finally arrested (on November 16, 1984).
By the time he was arrested, he had already killed two more women and his total known female victims had become 12 in number out of which 10 he had killed. He received the death penalty and was executed on May 23, 2019, in front of the two survivors Lisa McVey and Linda Nuttall. It is also revealed that Lisa’s family also tortured her. When she returned home after escaping, they didn’t believe her at first. Lisa refused to return to her home and agreed to be put in protective housing. You can watch the film here.
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1. The Girl Who Escaped: The Kara Robinson Story (2023)
Directed by Simone Stock, this film is based on the real story of 15-year-old Kara Robinson who managed to escape from her kidnapper’s apartment after being taken by him from her friend’s yard in West Columbia, South Carolina on June 24, 2002. She was held for 18 hours before she strategized her escape, managed to do so while the guy, later identified as 38-year-old Richard Evonitz, was sleeping, and went to the police station to inform them about Evonitz. The man couldn’t be arrested because he shot himself to death during a car chase in Sarasota, Florida, on June 27, 2002. In the film, Kara Robinson is played by Katie Douglas, and Richard Evonitz is played by Kristian Bruun. To have a clearer idea about what happened and how Kara escaped, you can watch the film here.
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