Lifetime’s Girl in the Video: Is the Tale of Catfishing Based on a True Story?

With Neil Rawles at the helm, Lifetime’s ‘Girl in the Video’ is a thriller drama movie that chronicles the life of a single widowed mother named Mo who manages to parent her two teens to the best of her abilities. One of her children, Krissy, secretly begins talking to a guy named Tony, whom she believes is a charming high school senior. When she decides to sneak out to meet him one night, the truth shocks her and lands her in the deep and dark world of the internet. When Krissy doesn’t make it home until the next morning, Mo and her son Robbie lead the search for her and inform the local detectives about the situation.

Over time, as the media begins covering the case, Mo and the rest find out that Krissy is being held captive and sexually exploited in live streams for the dark web in order to gain money off of it. In a race against time, the captive’s mother and brother collect all the clues that can lead them to her before something worse happens to her. The dark tale of catfishing and the dealings of the dark web serve as a warning to not be too trusting of strangers one meets on the internet, making one wonder if the story is based on reality or fiction.

Girl in the Video is Inspired by the Dark Side of the Internet

Yes, ‘Girl in the Video’ is somewhat based on real-life events. The screenwriter, Matthew Broughton, took some inspiration from some true events and inculcated them into the storyline accordingly. Making the most of his creative mind and experience writing thrillers, such as ‘The Family: Inside the Manson Cult,’ Broughton was able to weave the intriguing screenplay for the Lifetime production that takes us into the dark world of catfishing and exploitative videos on the internet.

The thriller film is an important and much-needed reminder of the perils and risks one faces while interacting online with a stranger. Take the case of the 18-year-old girl from Ntunda who got sexually assaulted in Mgobodi bushes on Easter Sunday after getting catfished by a male Facebook user. The culprit even robbed her of her mobile phone. Another case of catfishing occurred in Norway, where a 26-year-old man, under the pretense of a teenage girl named “Sandra” or “Henriette,” met young men on online chat forums.

The impersonator even reportedly lured them to send him explicit images. Later, he blackmailed them to keep the images coming if they didn’t want their images to be released in public. It is alleged that he met some of the young men in real life and sexually assaulted them. In November 2018, the Norwegian man was identified as Henrik, who was charged with sexually abusing more than 300 boys in three different countries, dating back to 2011. Such disturbing and unpleasant real-life instances are what inspired ‘Girl in the Video,’ which taps into these subject matters and raises awareness about the same.

Apart from ‘Girl in the Video,’ there have been various other movies that focus on the same themes and elements. ‘Catfish Killer‘ is one of the most suitable examples. Helmed by Olivia Kuan, the thriller film follows Hannah, a young woman who joins an online chatroom and meets a mysterious boy. Her seemingly perfect life turns upside down when she falls for the boy she just met online, someone who turns out to be totally different than his online persona. Thus, keeping in mind all the above-mentioned things, it would be fair to say that ‘Girl in the Video’ is partly inspired by true events.

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