In Broad Daylight The fanatically uncompromising Len Rowan and his family insult and terrorize the citizens of a small town for years. One day the comment of a saleswoman about Len’s son not being able to pay his sweets triggers off his persecution complex. As revenge for the believed insult, the whole family starts stalking the shop owner and her husband… until this escalates and the old man gets badly injured. Len is arrested, but gets off, free on bail. His clever attorney delays the court session for more than a year – while Rowan keeps threatening the witnesses. But then, the people feel they’ve had enough of this and decide to take the law in their own hands…
CREEPY TRUE STORY
I want to chime in on this film because it really scared the H-E-Double Bamboo Sticks out of me, motivated me to read the Playboy article about the incident, and then the well-researched book by the same name.
Brian Dennehy is perfectly cast as the villain — although the real guy was even creepier, more violent and sociopathic. The film doesn’t give any real back story, which is a possible but negligible shortcoming. The book, however, does a good job of illustrating how this poor country boy developed into the alienated monster he was, and how he fit (or rather didn’t fit) into the community.
This story could have taken place in any small town. I happen to be from Missouri, and every summer I pass through and visit similar one-light towns in the Ozarks. (Just so we’re straight on the geography, Skidmore, where this took place, is NOT near Springfield, per one reviewer, but in the northwest corner of the state.) The impression I always get is that because the townsfolk know each other, they are careful to get along with their neighbors. IBD is about how to deal with someone who has no intention of getting along with the neighbors.
I won’t spoil the ending, but it is shocking, and a relief, when it comes, especially after the buildup of suspense and terror — and it really does seem to render “justice.” Love the line from the old farmer: “I didn’t see nothing. And if I did, I wouldn’t tell you.”
This is an atmospheric TV movie that works as quality cinema.