Dangerous Child

Watch Dangerous Child

  • NR
  • 2001
  • 1 hr 31 min
  • 6.0  (641)

Dangerous Child is a compelling and emotionally charged drama that debuted on television in 2001, addressing the complex issue of domestic violence, but with a twist that sets it apart from the typical narrative – it explores the disturbing dynamic of a teenage son's aggression toward his mother. The film stars Delta Burke, known for her role on the sitcom "Designing Women," as Sally Cambridge, a single mother grappling with the escalating violence of her 16-year-old son, Jack, portrayed by Ryan Merriman.

The narrative delves into the dark and often misunderstood territory of parent abuse, specifically where the child, not the spouse, is the abuser. Burke's character, Sally Cambridge, is depicted as a devoted mother working diligently to maintain a stable and loving home for her two children, Jack and younger sister, Cindy, played by Marc Donato and Brittney Irvin respectively. Sally is a resilient woman who faces the anguish of being assaulted by her own child, yet she is confounded by the emotional turmoil and the conflict between her maternal instincts and the need to seek help.

Ryan Merriman's performance as Jack Cambridge is convincing and unsettling, embodying a teenager who appears outwardly charming and well-mannered, but who harbors a violent and controlling temperament within the confines of his home. The film captures the gradual unraveling of Jack's relationship with his mother and the escalation of his aggressive behavior, exposing a pattern of intimidation, manipulation, and physical altercations that are shocking and deeply disturbing.

Supporting character Leo, played by Vyto Ruginis, is a friend of Sally's who becomes increasingly concerned about her wellbeing as he witnesses Jack’s behavior firsthand. His character serves as an outsider's perspective on the domestic troubles brewing within the Cambridge household and represents the often difficult position of those who see the signs of abuse but struggle with how to intervene without exacerbating the situation.

The story not only focuses on the incidents of abuse but also on Sally's difficult journey to find help. Her initial attempts are met with skepticism and frustration as she faces the challenges of navigating a legal and social service system ill-equipped to handle cases where the child is the perpetrator of domestic violence. The authorities and support groups she turns to are designed to protect children from their parents, not the other way around, which adds an additional layer of complexity to the problem she is trying to solve.

As the film progresses, viewers are introduced to a therapist specializing in family violence, who attempts to break through to Jack and uncover the root of his aggressive behavior. Through this process, the film delves into themes of accountability, therapy, and the potential for healing within a family broken by violence. The narrative is careful not to oversimplify the issues or offer easy solutions, reflecting the real-life messiness and heartbreak associated with domestic violence, regardless of who the abuser is.

Dangerous Child also explores the stigma associated with parent abuse and the burden of shame and secrecy that often prevents families from seeking help. As Sally struggles with the judgment of those around her and her own internalized guilt for her son's actions, the film highlights the societal pressure that can silence the victims of family violence and allow the cycle of abuse to continue unchecked.

The movie underscores the impact of domestic violence on all members of a family. Cindy, Jack’s younger sister, often serves as an innocent bystander to the chaos and violence, illustrating the wider repercussions of such behavior on siblings and the family unit as a whole. The film does an excellent job of showing the various ways family members cope with the disturbed family dynamics and how children can display resilience in the face of adversity.

Through its dramatic narrative, Dangerous Child manages to shed light on a form of domestic violence that is often hidden from public view. Its unflinching look at the struggles of a mother against her abusive teenage son serves as a poignant reminder of the complexities and challenges faced by families dealing with similar situations. While the film does not shy away from presenting the harrowing reality of parent abuse, it also offers a sense of hope that with proper support and intervention, families can work towards a resolution and healing.

As a conversation starter about a difficult subject, Dangerous Child effectively brings the topic of child-to-parent violence to the forefront, prompting discussions on how society can better address and prevent such situations. By presenting a nuanced portrayal of the struggles endured by Sally and her family, the film encourages empathy and understanding for victims of all forms of domestic violence and highlights the need for more comprehensive resources and support systems for those affected.

Dangerous Child is a 2001 tv movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 31 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.0.

Where to Watch Dangerous Child
Dangerous Child is available to watch free on Tubi TV. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Dangerous Child for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 31 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.0  (641)