We’ve covered quite a few true crime series based off true events recently, from Sky’s The Staircase and A Friend of the Family, to Netflix’s runaway success Inventing Anna- and Girl in the Box, set to arrive on Paramount+, is one to join those ranks. The film was in fact released on American TV network Lifetime back in 2016, but it is now being given a wider release through Paramount.

Girl in the Box is truly frightening in premise: in 1977, a 22 year old hitchhiker, named Colleen is attempting to travel to California, and is relieved when she’s offered a ride by a couple, Cameron and Janice Hooker. However, she is abducted at knifepoint, and finds herself shoved into a box underneath the couple’s bed and subjected to rape and abuse.

The film is based off real events that occurred in 1977, and tells Colleen’s story and horrifying ordeal, which she survived. Colleen was kept in the box sometimes for 23 hours a day, and kept in captivity for seven years. Cameron Hooker is sexually obsessed with S&M and bondage, and Colleen is incarcerated, raped and tortured repeatedly. When she isn’t subjected to this, Colleen is forced to be the couple’s slave as well as child minder. She is also mentally tortured and brainwashed, and it was not until seven years of imprisonment that she finally managed to escape her horrific ordeal in 1984- with the help of Cameron’s wife Janice.

While the events and film are awful, Paramount will also release a documentary alongside it, titled The Girl in the Box: The True Story. This documentary will be told from Colleen’s perspective, featuring the now 64 year Colleen Stan explaining what happened to her, as well as the aftermath and trial of Cameron Hooker, where she found that she was portrayed in the trial as apparently brainwashed and willing in the abuse of herself. The documentary spans two parts, and together with the The Girl in the Box film tells her story.

Both film and documentary make for difficult viewing given their awful and visceral subject matter, but are still worth watching to hear how Colleen managed to survive the seven years, and attempt to rebuild her life, despite immense difficulty. The principal cast includes Addison Timlin as Colleen Stan, Zane Hotly as Cameron Hooker and Zelda Williams as Janice Hooker, and it was directed by Stephen Kemp.


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