By Christian DiMartino
I love movies like Fatal Affair, even when I hate movies like Fatal Affair.
As soon as Netflix announced the release of Fatal Affair, I was giddy. I didn’t need to know the plot, or anything about it. I just knew what kind of movie it was going to be, and that was enough. That being, an over-the-top obsession thriller that received its DNA from Fatal Attraction, and probably would’ve been better suited to the 1990s. When these films work, in say, Gone Girl or Single White Female, they succeed at being richly entertaining. When they don’t work, well… they’re still richly entertaining, even though you are very well aware of the trash you are watching.
Fatal Affair, as you can tell from the half-star rating, falls into the latter. This film is complete garbage. That being said, so am I. It’s an absurd atrocity that I pretty much forgot I had watched. With that being said, again, it is very entertaining garbage. But also, for a movie called Fatal Affair, this affair isn’t all that fatal. What a ripoff!
So I’m going to break down the plot here by comparing it to two films that it, quite shamelessly, is ripping off. In 2009, our lord and savior Beyonce starred in one of these called Obsessed. Garbage, yes, but chances are it will never be forgotten because of A.) Beyonce and 2.) it led to a very over-the-top cat-fight. That film revolved around a guy named Derek (Idris Elba, probably having regrets) who has an occasional flirtation with a new office temp named Lisa (Ali Larter). The two don’t sleep together, but Lisa is OBSESSED with Derek, constantly throwing herself at him and making his life a living hell, showing up at business gatherings, showing up in his car wearing lingerie. This film, of course, received its ideas from Fatal Attraction, the Best Picture nominated Adrian Lyne classic in which Dan (Michael Douglas) had a passionate love affair with Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), a new office temp. They have sex, repeatedly and vigorously, and then Dan realizes that Alex is cuckoo, and she starts infiltrating her way into his life, driving him nuts, yada yada.
Fatal Affair, a title so shamelessly close to Fatal Attraction, has the gender roles reversed. This time, THE GUY is the psychopath. Big moves, guys, big moves. Nia Long plays a somewhat happily married woman who begins working with a new temp, who happens to be a former lover. He is played by Omar Epps. If you are wondering why I do not mention character names, it’s because I do not remember them, nor do I care to look them up (the other names, disturbingly, I drew from memory). Long and Epps go out to the club one night, and they get close… very close. But she shoots it down. He isn’t going to accept that though. He becomes OBSESSED with her, infiltrating his way into her life and yada yada so on and so forth. This time though, Long does not own a pet that he can murder.
People die Fatal Affair, but it isn’t until like the last 20 minutes, and what’s interesting about Epps’ victims is that they’re not even the people he should be killing. He only kills the people that are CLOSE to the people he should be killing. Don’t you think that killing the husband would be the way to go? He really shouldn’t have devoted his time to killing the daughter’s new boyfriend, but I digress.
I was, thoroughly through and through, entertained by this film. But it is also a vastly lesser version of better movies. It’s laughable. It’s laughably acted and written. Nothing in this debacle actually works- the characters are idiots, the villain’s attempts at terror are very been there, done that. But… this is also a film that, for better or worse, while being completely godawful, entertains. It’s garbage, and in no way a good movie… but it’s my kind of garbage.