It's a long weekend. You know what that means: It's time to park yourself on the couch and marathon some television, getting up only for bathroom breaks and snack refreshers. But can you use the television as a real justification for staying indoors? On Sept. 5, Lifetime will air River Raft Nightmare, a movie about a mother/daughter rafting trip that goes awry when they duo comes across — and then is pursued by — three escaped criminals looking for their hidden cash. That makes the outdoors seem mighty dangerous — better to stay inside, right? But how good is this excuse really? Is Lifetime's River Raft Nightmare based on a true story?
Actually, no: You cannot blame your slothfulness on River Raft Nightmare. I'm sure somewhere, sometime, something bad happened along a riverbed, but this particular story about these particular escapees and the women they menace appear to be fiction. Sorry. But if you're looking for other reasons to keep you off the water this long weekend, there are plenty of other movies out there you can point to. Add these to your to-watch playlist, and you'll be too busy watching raft-based entertainment to even think about going outside and breathing in the fresh air.
The River Wild
This one feels almost exactly like River Raft Nightmare, but with a much more well-known cast. Meryl Streep plays a rafting expert who, after teaming up with a couple of friendly-seeming rafters while on a trip with her family, realizes that she's the getaway boat for two armed robbers. Kevin Bacon plays the lead antagonist so, not only to you get a white-water adventure, you also get a leg-up on the next round of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
A one-season wonder, The River is a creepy, found-footage style TV show created by one of the minds behind Paranormal Activity. It's about a crew that heads deep into the Amazon to find a lost naturalist whose tracking beacon suddenly bleeped on. And, as you would expect from someone involved with Paranormal Activity, things only get scarier from there. It's best to watch from dry land.
Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown
OK, this one isn't as scary as the others, with the exception of the creeping feeling of existential dread that permeates all Charlie Brown movies. Instead, the Peanuts gang has to defend honor and justice by defeating a group of bullies (and cheaters) in a river rafting race. I never thought much of it as a kid, but, now that I'm on the edge of parenthood myself, I fear for these children who are basically left to navigate the waters and woodlands without any supervision. It's a wonder Charlie Brown is alive to put out a movie this year.
The African Queen
One thing we don't really have to worry about when taking river trips anymore: Skirmishes between axis and allied travelers. But The African Queen finds Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn taking on German soldiers as they try to escape down a river— along with rapids and other heart-pounding obstacles. It might be good to slip a classic into your long-weekend TV marathon — Bogart even won an Oscar for this film.
Without A Paddle
This does take place on a canoe trip, and the characters get involved with antics and obstacles, but the truly scary thing is that someone thought this was a comedy. Watch it if you're in the mood for something awesomely bad.
Forget River Raft Nightmare. This one will really make you never want to leave your house again.