It seems that Lifetime has come a long, long way from the days of Meredith Baxter-Birney and A Dog Took My Face and Gave Me a Better Face to Change the World: The Celeste Cunningham Story, because now the network for women is getting into the Stephen King murder game. Specifically, the network is adapting the novella Big Driver from Full Dark, No Stars as a telepic, and it will star Maria Bello as Tess, with a script from Richard Christian Matheson. What an exciting development for Lifetime, so let’s go ahead and see what Big Driver is all about, shall we?
(This is somewhat spoilery, but in no way mentions what happens next or the ending. Still, if you plan to read this novella and the rest of Full Dark, No Stars – A Good Marriage is really good, too – or genuinely want to be surprised when you watch the TV movie, don’t read this breakdown.)
Tess is a successful cozy mystery writer who appears at a speaking engagement at a library in Chicopee, Massachusetts. After the event, Ramona Norville, a librarian who had invited Tess to the event, tells Tess to avoid Interstate 84. Instead, she gives Tess the directions to Stagg Road, a presumably safer shortcut to Tess’ home in Connecticut. However, as Tess takes the shortcut, her Ford Expedition rolls over pieces of wood with nails that lie across the road, giving her a flat tire. The place where the incident happens is by an abandoned Esso gas station.
Shortly afterwards, an enormous man in a pickup offers to assist Tess. However, Tess realizes that the driver had set out the road hazard. He knocks Tess out, proceeding to brutally rape and beat her before finally choking her to unconsciousness. She later wakes up and feigns death as he stashes her body and drives away. After the man has left, Tess escapes, but sees several other murdered women victims of the same man.
Actually, that’s a pretty solid Lifetime movie right there. Maybe cast Kane from the WWE as the truck driver and Jon Bon Jovi can play a local police officer investigating the disappearances of several women… and maybe his own heart.