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Is Lifetime’s Secrets in the Woods Based on a True Story?

August 29, 2020
3 min read

Lifetime network is no stranger to making spine chilling television movies based on true crime stories. The channel’s latest offering, ‘Secrets in the Woods,’ is about a young woman who gets stuck in a cabin with her boyfriend after falling into the trap of a devious man with sinister intentions. The woods can indeed be a dangerous place, and given Lifetime’s track record, many are wondering whether ‘Secrets in the Woods’ is based on a true story.

What is Secrets in the Woods About? 

‘Secrets in the Woods’ follows a young woman named Sandra (played by Brittany Underwood) and what befalls her when she heads out for a romantic cabin getaway in the woods with her new boyfriend, Brant (played by Taylor Frey). Sandra’s romantic escapade begins well, perhaps too well, leaving her vulnerable and utterly unaware of the danger lurking in the woods.

Sandra gets a hint of something sinister unfolding when she senses a man always lurking behind herself and Brant. She can’t avoid the feeling that they’re being watched, and her fears come true when she spots a strange man hanging around. In fear and panic, Sandra makes a run for her life, but can’t seem to escape her situation. To her horror, she realizes that the strange man is Brant’s father, Langley, who has been using his son to lure women into the woods for a while now. Langley’s endgame involves holding women captive and forcing them into the role of his deceased wife.

With Sandra’s life at risk, her sister Becky finds out about her several-day-long absence and manages to track her down. The movie then follows the trials that the sisters have to endure as they struggle to escape the nightmare in the woods.

Is Secrets in the Woods a True Story? 

Thankfully, ‘Secrets in the Woods’ appears to be a work of fiction, at least to the best of our knowledge. Yet, the trope of a killer in the woods is not at all new, and for a good reason. Wooded areas, due to their thick vegetation and lack of human activity, have been ripe hunting grounds for many killers. There have also been dozens of documented cases when killers have picked up vulnerable victims on hiking trails.

For instance, only last year, 30-year-old James Jordan was charged with murder and assault with intent to murder, for killing a hiker and leaving another hospitalized. Jordan allegedly terrorized many hikers on a rather long trail in the Jefferson National Forest in western Virginia before he was caught. There have been numerous such instances before Jordan too. Between 1979 and 1981, David Joseph Carpenter, who was known as the Trailside Killer, killed at least ten people on hiking trails in state parks in California before he was apprehended. Similarly, Randall Lee Smith killed two people on the Appalachian Trail in 1981, and though he spent several years in prison, he attempted to murder two fishers near the scene of the 1981 murders in 2008. However, he failed and would die himself days later.

Hence, as we can see, the trope about strange men stalking and killing people in wooded areas does come from real-life events. Thus, it’s entirely possible that the minds behind ‘Secrets in the Woods’ looked to some of these real-life events for inspiration, and put a sinister twist to this trope by adding Brant as the killer’s accomplice who baits victims into his traps.

Read More: Where Was Secrets in the Woods Filmed?

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