I can pinpoint exactly where I should’ve stopped watching. But 'Abducted in Plain Sight', which you can stream now on Netflix, is really like a car accident. You want to stop watching but you just can’t.
And it’s primarily because a little girl’s parents looked away, when they should have raised all hell.
Picture this: it’s the 1970s. The setting is American suburbia. The kind of family that is only missing a picket fence.
Dad owns a business, mom is a home-maker, who sings in the church. And their children feel seen and heard by their parents at all times. Sounds good, right? Too good to be true.
A new neighbour takes a liking to the family in general and their bubbly daughter, Jan, in particular. He offers to do school runs and spends a lot of time with the parents. So when he tells them one day that he was molested as a child and as part of his therapy, he needs to spend unsupervised time with Jan, the parents agree.
I know what you’re thinking. I’ll say it: What?!
It was at this point that I should have stopped watching Abducted in Plain Sight.
Not before, when the neighbour started having an affair with Jan’s mom. Not before, when the neighbour began an affair with Jan’s dad.
That stuff sounds crazy but, if you can believe it, it gets even crazier. The kid was abducted not once, but twice.
Jan is just 12 years old and her neighbour is a 40-year-old criminal. Look, I am no Judge Judy but this doccie will force you to find a gavel and ask: is this bad parenting or just bad luck?
As far as keeping the viewer on the edge, Abducted in Plain Sight scores pretty high. It’s incredibly entertaining. But it’s also undoubtedly sad. It’s a true story, after all.
To watch a 52-year-old Jan detail the horrors she endured under the guise of family friendship, and just being an obedient child, is heartbreaking.
The film was released in 2017 and didn’t make much noise. But then it came to the home of 'Making a Murderer' and the father of the term, serial killer, 'Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes' and blew up on social media.
I don’t know what it is about society that keeps us glued to these purely evil tales. But my hope is that the fact that our jaws drop and our fingers get to tweeting will force us all to be more vigilant in our surroundings.
Jan’s parents failed her but that doesn’t mean telling her story will not stop another kid from this trauma.
* Catch Abducted in Plain Sight on Netflix