An engaging drive-in movie that suggests little-known filmmaker Frederick R. Friedel is no small talent, this low-budget psychodrama is a kinder, gentler BADLANDS (1973) with a healthy dollop of the Patty Hearst story. One of only two released films written and directed by Friedel, it transcends its exploitation trappings with sufficient personal vision to make you wonder about the career the filmmaker could have had with more luck and resources. College student Sandra Morely (Leslie Ann Rivers, who bears a certain resemblance to former first-daughter Amy Carter) is surprised by a gunman, Eddie Mattlock (John Canon), waiting in the back seat of her car. Forcing her to drive to an isolated country road, he phones her rich parents demanding ransom. Eddie takes Sandra to a seedy hotel to wait it out. There two thugs breaks into their room, brutalizing the pair; they tie Eddie to a chair and rape Sandra, but Eddie manages to undo his ropes and shoots the intruders dead. Kidnapper and kidnappee hit the road and drive straight into Flannery O'Connor country, populated by Southern-gothic grotesques with unspoken secrets we're better off not knowing. Similarly unstated, but equally clear, is that Eddie has never done anything like this before and and that while determined, he doesn't have much of a plan. Eddie Mattlock is Joe Average, kidnapper, feeling his way through something harder both logistically and emotionally that he'd imagined and Canon, to his credit, never gets all movie-of-the-week sensitive about it, even in the moving scene in which he phones his unloving mother in a nursing home. Eddie and Sandra later find refuge at the farm of an off-kilter old man and an autistic or blithely traumatized woman-child. Resting in a bedroom, Sandra quietly asks Eddie to make love and shortly thereafter, the two become engaged. And the movie still has some odd twists left to go before its truncated ending. Though occasionally draggy, the film's everyday mundanity nonetheless strikes a chord and leads to such interesting relationship bits as a wordless morning scene in a barn in which an awkwardly solicitous Eddie does what he can to help Sandra wash up. The decent cinematography likewise has moments of unexpected loveliness for a B-picture. While not quite a lost gem, this movie's a worthy diamond-in-the-rough. Shot in North Carolina and barely released under its original title, THE KIDNAP LOVER, the film was eventually distributed under several other names, the best-known of them being KIDNAPPED COED, the DVD-release title.
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- Released: 1974
- Rating: R
- Review: An engaging drive-in movie that suggests little-known filmmaker Frederick R. Friedel is no small talent, this low-budget psychodrama is a kinder, gentler BADLANDS (1973) with a healthy dollop of the Patty Hearst story. One of only two released films writte… (more)