A Friend of the Family (2005)

TV Movie   |  PG-13   |    |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller


A Friend of the Family (2005) Poster

After she narrowly escaped rape by attackers in Toronto, artist Alison Shaw and her devoted hunky husband Darris, a construction worker, move to a rural small town in Ontario and nest a ... See full summary »


6.2/10
237

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User Reviews


3 March 2015 | Ed-Shullivan
6
| Twenty Percent Fact and Eighty Percent Fiction
This film was supposedly based on a real life serial killer and rapist from Ontario Canada named David Alexander Snow. In reality David Snow was convicted of two murders that occurred in April 1992 of husband and wife Ian and Nancy Blackburn at their cottage retreat located an hour north of Toronto. He is also associated with the disappearance and murder of Carolyn Case from Toronto. From what the investigation could gather David Snow first murdered Nancy Blackburn aged 49 at the family cottage. Then he forced Ian Blackburn to drive back to their home in the city of Toronto while David Snow stuffed Nancy Blackburn's body in the trunk of the car. It appears both were murdered on April 13, 1992. Their nephew was asked to check in on them since no one had heard from either of them in the last week. The nephew opened the trunk of their car and discovered the two bodies.

Alison Shaw's former husband Darris Shaw had been business partners with David Snow for a few years before the Blackburn's murders occurred in April 1992. When the police interviewed Alison Shaw she did explain how quirky David Snow was and that a significant amount of pornography was found in his home by Alison and Darris Shaw while they were trying to recover anything of value from his property after he abruptly left Orangeville Ontario where his antique shop was located, and where his business partnership in a restoration business with Darris Shaw was falling apart. What the film does not depict was how strange David Snow really was. He was known around the cottage country as the "House Hermit" who would break in to cottage properties and stay there for several days where he would store his urine in family sized plastic jugs and wrap his stools in newspapers, as he continued to scribble notes relating to the world wars. Alison Shaw did in fact report that she was quite sure that she recognized the hand writings that were published in the local newspaper in an attempt by the police to determine who the killer was by the detailed and scrambled notes that David Snow kept about military equipment.

David Snow apparently was fond of the Shaw's little girl and he was business partners with Darris Shaw but this is where the film goes from fact to fiction. David Snow was not obsessed with Alison Shaw. Two Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers spotted a missing girls Volkswagen car in a secluded area and they found not one but two of the reported missing girls tied up with wire to trees, but no David Snow was found. One of the girls was kidnapped several days earlier and had been repeatedly raped.

This film depicts Alison Shaw as both the victim and heroine who captured David Snow single handedly. When in fact David Snow waited for a restaurant manager named Dalia Gelineau, aged 58, to close her restaurant (which was located approximately 10 miles from where David Snow held his last two victims hostage)around 3 AM, when he put a gun to her head. What he did not realize was that Ms. Gelineau had already turned on the restaurants alarm system when he forced her to go back in the restaurant. When he was caught by police he was in the process of beating and strangling Ms. Gelineau within a minute of her imminent death. I don't see anything wrong with embellishing a factual story to make it more interesting for the moviegoers but I don't see why Ms. Alison's book which the film was based on made her out to be the heroine and in so doing diminishes the sheer torture and fear that David Snow's real victims must have endured.

The three main characters David Snow (played by Kim Coates), Alison Shaw (played by Laura Harris) and Darris Shaw (played by Eric Johnson who is more widely known as Detective Luke Callaghan on the current TV series Rookie Blue) all provided first class performances which kept the film interesting. I would have rated it higher if not for the movie straying so far away from the actual series of events and for deliberately creating a scenario whereby David Snow only kidnapped and murdered young ladies that reminded him of Alison Shaw, when in fact that is not who David Snow was, or who he actually killed. This is a sick serial killer and rapist who will not see the light of day and is currently serving a life term in an Ontario prison.

It is worth seeing even with the fictionalized storyline that strayed too far from the factual events. I rate the film a 6 out of 10

Critic Reviews


Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Drama | Mystery | Thriller

Details

Release Date:

4 July 2005

Language

English


Country of Origin

Canada

Filming Locations

Alberta, Canada

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