It seems like it’s been a little while since a really brilliant thriller has emerged from the Hollywood machine, feel free to disagree but the last glimmering gems were probably 2000’s What Lies Beneath and 2002’s Insomnia. So it may not be much of a surprise then that 2009’s Obsessed is as predictable and pedestrian as its title suggests.
Beyoncé Knowles plays Sharon, mother to a small child and wife of Derek (Elba), a successful asset manager whose recent promotion has meant that the beautiful family are able to move into their LA dream home. There marks our first problem, these characters are presented from the off as the ‘perfect’ family – there isn’t even a hint of the dissatisfaction in their three year marriage that might suggest they wouldn’t emerge from psycho office-temp Lisa’s (Larter) obsession unscathed. In fact perversely it means you might well be willing Derek, throughout Lisa’s crazy reign of office stalking, to at least give her a little kiss so we’ve got a real storyline. But alas that never happens, instead we have some twists and turns that can be assumed ten minutes before each, as well as the occasional running commentary in case we’re missing the signs; “I think she’s a temp” Derek tells his colleagues as Lisa’s shapely legs move past the window, to which best friend Ben (O’Connell) replies “I think you mean temptress”.
For those who are not that familiar with the thriller genre, Obsessed will likely be reasonably watchable ? the dialogue isn’t terrible, the acting is competent enough and the leads are suitably pretty. However, for the rest, this film will merely exhibit a shamelessly uninspired remake of Fatal Attraction ? only without either the tragic realism that made the original, or anything quite as thrilling as a rabbit simmering on a stove. Another overwhelming problem is that we are never presented with even a hint of a motive for Lisa’s sinister behaviour; it may have given the film a little more depth had we had a glimpse into her background and reasoning, or even a scene when she’s residing among the cats and shrines of her femme fatale’s lair. Without any of this I’m afraid it feels like, not only formulaic, but also plain lazy filmmaking.
Admittedly there have been some respectable celluloid performances by Beyoncé, but with this one you can’t help but watch her and think ‘greedy businesswoman with her fingers in too many pies’, particularly as one of her own ballads is incongruously plugged over the closing credits. I probably wouldn’t have advised anyone to visit the cinema to catch this one, but on Blu-Ray or DVD it might make an enjoyable date movie; the location is sunny, the cast and costumes are attractive and, for the boys, there’s some impressive girl on girl fighting towards the end.
EXTRAS *** A 15-minute making-of documentary with cast and crew interviews, two 10-minute featurettes on the fight scene and the costumes, and trailers.