Fatal Affair: A Strictly Platonic Psychological “Thriller”

Aside from cooking reality shows and schmaltzy Christmas movies, Netflix seems to love nothing more than middle-of-the-road psychological thrillers. There’s Twinsanity, Bad Match, My Teacher, My Obsession, The Student, AMI. Occasionally, Netflix adds what might quality as a decent guilty-pleasure thriller. Count Fear, The Crush, and When The Bough Breaks among these selections. At present, you still won’t find a Fatal Attraction or Basic Instinct. But Martin Scorsese’s Cape Fear is finally streaming. But if you’re desperate for any psychological thriller, Netflix has added the new Fatal Affair. Don’t let the generic title fool you. Yes, this is a new stalking movie. Can Fatal Affair rise above its bland title to deliver some psychological drama and suspense?

Synopsis

Successful lawyer, loving wife, doting mother – Ellie Warren has it all. Almost. With her daughter off to college, Ellie and her husband, Marcus, have moved out of the city. Some of the spark has faded from the marriage, and Ellie hopes the change of scenery may help. But when an old flame, David Hammond, turns up, Ellie’s life quickly becomes complicated. An innocent night out for drinks leads to a brief indiscretion. Now David – a secretly unstable man – is obsessed with re-kindling a relationship. And he won’t take no for an answer.

Fatal Affair a Lazy Re-Tread of Just About Every Thriller You’ve Seen

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Apparently, writer and director Peter Sullivan took this motto to heart. Like Randy said in Scream, ‘There’s a formula to it … [A] very simple formula”. And Fatal Affair rigidly follows a formula. Anyone who has ever watched a psychological thriller – any thriller – won’t be surprised by anything in this movie. Is David Hammond dangerously unstable? Of course he is. Will he be able to disrupt Ellie’s life and convince others that she’s in the wrong? You bet. Does the movie have a friend who is just in the movie for cannon fodder? Yes. Every step, every twist is predictable and transparent. Fatal Affair dutifully moves from one expected plot point to the next. It’s less a movie, and more of a facsimile of a concept. Yet somehow Fatal Affair credits two additional writers with this story.

Yes. Every step, every twist is predictable and transparent. Fatal Affair dutifully moves from one expected plot point to the next

If Fatal Affair was simply just a derivative effort that wouldn’t instantly disqualify it from ‘guilty pleasure’ territory. No, Fatal Affair’s biggest problem is that it’s just not suspenseful or thrilling. Sullivan’s directing is competent; he certainly knows what scenario might elicit tension. Nonetheless, Sullivan fails to craft anything that will put you on the edge of your seat. Though Fatal Affair doesn’t look cheap, it rarely rises above a Lifetime thriller. Not even the ‘affair’ part of the movie is very sexy or sultry. This thriller doesn’t push the bar and, in fact, falls well under the bar. You’ll find more risqué content on Riverdale.

Omar Epps Deserved So Much Better

Poor Omar Epps. Sure, he’s been in some iffy projects, including last year’s disappointing Trick. But Epps has also turned in memorable performances in Love & Basketball, Juice, and House. NAACP award winner Nia Long (47 Meters Down Uncaged) has amassed so strong credits as well. Neither actor will likely cite Fatal Affair as anything more than a paycheque. Epps looks like he’s going through the motions. Maybe he was bored with the material. To her credit, Long gives it her all and comes out of the movie unscathed. No is going to blame Epps or Long for this dull affair. No one else remotely registers, which is no fault of their own either. That is, Fatal Affair’s screenplay doesn’t so much have characters as it does people playing plot devices.

Fatal Affair a Fatally Derivative and Dull Psychological Thriller

If you want a perfect illustration of what constitutes a ‘workmanlike’ effort, look no further than Fatal Affair. From it’s absolutely generic title – is it ‘Fatal Beauty’ or ‘Dangerous Attraction’ – to its rote plot, this Netflix release is a thriller in categorization only. Nothing about this movie deviates from the dozen or so stalking movies you can find on streaming platforms. What’s worse is that Fatal Affair struggles to stalk up any suspense. In fact, Sullivan offers up a completely watered down effort. Feel free to get up and grab a snack at anytime. You’re not missing anything. Even the actors look bored. Want a stalking thriller, just stream Obsessed or wait for Netflix to add Fatal Attraction.

THE PROFESSOR’S FINAL GRADE: D

Posted by

I am a Criminology professor in Canada but I've always had a passion for horror films. Over the years I've slowly begun incorporating my interest in the horror genre into my research. After years of saying I wanted to write more about horror I have finally decided to create my own blog where I can share some of my passion and insights into the films I love.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.