Abducted in Plain Sight (2017) [Toronto True Crime Film Festival 2018]

The Broberg family lived a normal life, perhaps a bit naïve about the world. That is until a new neighbor moved into town and started turning their world upside down.

This documentary directed by Skye Borgman shows the Broberg family through old photos, recordings, and interviews. It shows how a normal family can be infiltrated by a man with evil intentions. It shows how a young girl can be made to believe she is in love with a grown man and made to think this is all normal and her destiny. The levels of manipulation and scheming, the sheer evil of this person is shown through all the reports and interviews. This take on things comes off a bit like a television special however, being clearly done a smaller budget. Nonetheless, the subject is interesting and keeps the attention even when the image quality or the way it’s all shot looks less cinematically done.

The film in and of itself is done competently, it is however perfect for television or streaming, it doesn’t feel like a theatrical release, it feels made for tv. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. The way this is done feels honest however, something not all documentaries can bring the table. The family is direct in their retelling of what happened, even the parts that make them look bad. They have a way to talking that feels familiar yet serious. Jan particularly comes off as wanting to help others, wanting to help keep what happened to her from happening again. Her way of talking, of being interviewed shows how she cares. Her honesty comes off genuine and caring.

Abducted in Plain Sight will appeal mostly to fans of crime documentaries. As such, it’s a decently made one and it has a good way of telling its story. It has an important message in that it wants to help prevent other families from going through this. It comes from a good place and tells a horrific story, something that is not easy to do and yet is important to do.