"Murders in Suburbia" (a.k.a., "Secrets at the Lake") raises an essential moral dilemma. Three teenagers were driving intoxicated when their vehicle swerved out of the lane, resulting in a crash that took the lives of three people. The kids then left the scene of the accident and never reported it.
Now, one year later, they meet at the Whispering Pines crash site and make a pact to remain silent. The oath is that their secret will "stay at the lake." The ethical question is whether or not all three of them will keep their agreement.
The drama unfolds with the threesome experiencing varied pangs of conscience. Rick, who was the driver, feels the least guilty and urges the others to keep their vows. For his part, Jared, a star rower on the crew team, is nearly ready to confess when he is suddenly murdered. Katie, who was asleep in the back seat at the time, nonetheless comes extremely close to telling her mother the truth.
The most intriguing relationship in the film was that of Megan Meyers, the widow who lost both her husband and her two children in the crash, and Amy Pruitt, the mother of Katie, who had no idea that her daughter and friends had been responsible for the crash. It is the empathy shown by Amy to Megan that is most moving in the film, leading to the bonding of the two women.
The film was well-scripted, but it was also exceptionally well performed by the cast. The young actors conveyed with great credibility the interior struggle of their characters. And the depth of feeling between Amy and Megan was especially moving. Amy, who had lost her husband to cancer, was able to see clearly the fragile psyche of Megan, who was still in the throes of bereavement.
This was a film of quiet intensity, as opposed to lurid action or melodrama. For discriminating audience members, it even merits more than one viewing.