At the beginning of "The Stalking of Laurie Show", also known as "Rivals", we are informed that it is based on actual evidence which means we are in true story territory. The thing is that this true story is a horror story about a teenage girl who becomes a victim of a vendetta by another, unbalanced girl and unfortunately whilst what we watch is unsettling it ends up feeling too manufactured. It basically feels more like a horror, thriller than a dramatization of a true story with some parts over played whilst others are underplayed which is a shame.
Having not been in Lancaster long, the timid Laurie (Jennifer Finnigan) finds herself being befriended by Prom Queen Michelle (Marnette Patterson) who is dating school hunk Butch (Rel Hunt). But when Michelle and Butch finish and he starts dating Laurie it causes Michelle to become jealous, uncontrollably jealous. Michelle is not the only one who is uncontrollable as when Laurie says no to Butch's sexual advances he rapes her. After saying that she is pregnant Michelle wins Butch back but things don't stop there as Michelle sets about making Laurie's life a living hell, stalking and attacking her, ramping it up in each episode.
The fact that "The Stalking of Laurie Show" is based on evidence certainly makes for an unsettling experience especially when Michelle turns psycho and starts on her vendetta of hate. But as I said "The Stalking of Laurie Show" ends up playing out like a manufactured horror movie which reminded me of the likes of "Heathers" it has that sort of level of drama. Maybe it is more accurate than I know but anyone who has watched a few other teen movies about unsettled teens will recognize a familiar tone and style.
The trouble really stems from the performances especially that of Marnette Patterson as Michelle because whilst it would be perfect in a horror movie in this dramatization of a true story it ends up coming across as over the top. All the jealous looks, the evil stares and so on are just too psycho cliche and whilst it makes her a strong character it is too much for this type of movie. At the other end of the scale there is Jennifer Finnigan as Laurie and with her pale skin and small frame she is well cast as she gets across the characters fragility and innocence. But whilst Jennifer has the look when it comes to the emotional aspect of the character she struggles to deliver that believable emotion.
This issue with the casting continues through out as there are minor characters who end up over playing things whilst others fail to really lift their character from being a cliche. It is a shame that this story is flawed by the performances and the cliche horror styling as when you keep in mind that it is based on evidence makes it uncomfortable viewing.
What this all boils down to is that "The Stalking of Laurie Show" is unsettling because of it being based on a true story. But at the same time it is flawed because too many cliche techniques are used to tell the story and in doing so making it feel like a typical teen psycho horror.