Like many teenagers, Elizabeth Taggart (Natalie Wood) enjoys spending evenings with her boyfriend Owen (Richard Anderson) at the town’s Lovers’ Loop. Elizabeth and Owen are engaged, but it’s a secret engagement because Elizabeth is afraid that her overbearing father, police captain Dan Taggart (Edmond O’Brien), won’t approve. One night at Lovers’ Loop, a disturbed man named Harold Loftus (Raymond Burr) hides among the trees watching the couples. When Owen hears a noise, he goes to investigate and is knocked unconscious by Harold. Harold then drives off in Owen’s car with Elizabeth inside.
After Owen comes to again, he tries to get help from the police, but the officers mistakenly think he’s drunk and take him to the station to sober up. Meanwhile, Harold has taken Elizabeth to an abandoned shack where he tries to force her into being his girlfriend. Back at the jail, Owen is examined by a doctor who realizes Owen isn’t just another drunk. The police finally listen to his story and realize Captain Taggart’s daughter is involved. When Captain Taggart finds out his daughter has been kidnapped, he blames Owen for the ordeal.
While the police are investigating Elizabeth’s kidnapping, Harold’s mother calls the station to report that he has gone missing. The way Harold’s mother talks about him makes a criminal profiler realize that Harold might be the man they’re looking for. They manage to track down the shack, but Harold isn’t willing to let Elizabeth go without a fight. During the fight, Owen saves Captain Taggart’s life and when Harold finally surrenders, Captain Taggart finally gives his blessing for Elizabeth and Owen to be together.
I was somewhat underwhelmed by A Cry in the Night. The cast is quite good; Raymond Burr made an excellent creep and Edmond O’Brien nailed the overbearing aspect of his character. A Cry in the Night isn’t a bad movie, but unfortunately there just isn’t a lot of substance to it. It’s an alright way to spend 75 minutes, but it left me wanting something more.