October 3rd, 2014

NO ONE COULD PROTECT HER (1996) ***

Any hope I had of this being a genuine horror film and not a Made for TV movie was instantly dashed as soon as I saw the name Joanna Kerns in the opening credits. If anything screams “Made for TV movie”, it’s the presence of Joanna Kerns. In addition to playing the mom on Growing Pains, Kerns was a heavy hitter in the Made for TV game, starring in over two dozen TV flicks during the ‘80s and ‘90s.

No One Could Protect Her may be a Made for TV/Lifetime Channel Original sort of thing, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t effective. Lifetime Movies are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, and I am confident enough in my masculinity to admit when I see a good one. Sure, the pacing is a bit slack (especially during the police procedural scenes), but this is about as good as you can hope for from the genre.

Kerns plays a married woman who is attacked by a slimy rapist in her home. There are more rapes in the neighborhood and she believes they are committed by the same man, but the detective on the case doesn’t believe her. With the cops dragging their feet, her husband (Anthony John Denison) takes it upon himself to comb the neighborhood looking for the attacker. Meanwhile, Kearns does a little detective work of her own and figures out the rapist’s pattern. Then, with the help of the police, she agrees to act as bait to trap him.

There are a couple of moments that set No One Could Protect Her apart from the rest of the pack. The attack scene in particular is rather intense, and we also get a fairly graphic scene (for a TV movie anyways) where Kearns is given a rape kit in the hospital. The subplot of the couple’s loss of intimacy after the assault is also pretty moving.

The cast also help to elevate the material. Kearns gives an excellent performance and Denison is good as the frustrated husband who feels powerless to protect his wife. The Wonder Years’ Dan Lauria is also on hand as the cop on the case.

So sure, this might not be the kind of movie I was hoping to watch during The 31 Days of Horror-Ween, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good.

Tomorrow’s Bargain Bin Horror Movie: Nightscream.