So much of our every day communication happens through the faceless Internet — e-mails, tweets, Instagram photos, Gchat, online dating sites, and so much more. I'd like to think I always know who I'm talking to, but sadly, I can never be too sure. And, the new Lifetime TV movie The Bride He Bought Online , premiering on Saturday night, will truly show audiences that the new love you found over the internet could be a mere prank by some teenagers. We hear of the idea of catfishing pretty often, so it's fair to wonder: Is The Bride He Bought Online based on a true story?
"I find it interesting from a theoretical standpoint that the internet has created crimes that didn't exist before and how people, because of the anonymity of the internet, have the ability to sit behind a screen and do things that they couldn't justify doing in person," writer and director of the film, Christine Conradt says. "That's what inspired me to create a story around that concept."
So, while the movie isn't based on one specific case, Conradt says she was inspired to write the film by various cases of cyberbullying and juvenile crime. Conradt has a masters degree in criminal justice from Boston University and her studies focused on cyber crime and juvenile delinquency. The Bride He Bought Online certainly deals with those topics. It's a story about three teenage girls who run a prank blog and decide their latest target will be the man who falls for a fake profile they posted on a mail-order bride website. Unfortunately for them, the pranked man becomes becomes hellbent on revenge against the girls, but will he take it too far?
Cyber Crime & Trust On The Internet
Conradt is very passionate about these topics and has studied the motivations behind teen crime (peer pressure and lack of understanding consequences are among them), as well as Internet crimes, in which the World Wide Web gives folks a new way to commit old-fashioned wrongdoing. She published a paper in the International Journal of Cyber Criminology on the Adrian Ghighina online auction fraud case.
But, does this mean you should distrust the entire Internet? Not quite. "I think what's interesting is that when people go online the balance of trusting is thrown off, because either they just completely trust without being given a reason to trust that person, or they completely distrust," Conradt tells Bustle. "A lot of our meaningful interactions with people have been replaced with what we believe are meaningful interactions online. People now believe you could get to know someone so well online and fall in love with them."
How The Movie Came To Be
In addition to studying crime, Conradt has a bachelor's degree in screenwriting from the prestigious USC film school with more than 40 movie credits under her belt as a screenwriter — and a good amount of those are beloved titles have aired Lifetime, including A Nanny's Revenge, The Secret Sex Life of a Single Mom, and Betrayed at 17.
She said she originally wrote The Bride He Bought Online as an indie horror movie that would be her directorial debut and she was ready to start up a crowdfunding campaign. But, there was no need, because Executive Producer Pierre David was into the idea — but as a thriller.
That Ending (But No Spoilers)
Don't worry, I won't spoil the ending for you, but I will say that it's pretty dark. Nothing is tied up in a neat little package with a bow and that's something that makes sense for a movie with so much gray area, where no one is completely right or totally wrong.
"When [Lifetime] finally saw it, they said this is one of the darkest movies we've ever done, because of the ending," Conradt hints. "You start out with the girls and they're so terrible to this guy, doing something so wrong and so mean. Then when it's flipped and he takes his revenge, I wanted the audience to say, 'They were mean, but they didn't deserve that.'"
How far can revenge go and just how dark does it get? You'll have to tune in Saturday, July 18 at 8 p.m. to find out.
Images: Lifetime (4)