Fatal Affair aspires to be a trashy steamy Lifetime/Hallmark Channel movie and it hits all the beats for viewers looking for a goofy, increasingly ridiculous guilty pleasure.
It’s one of those movies you’ll constantly find yourself yelling at the screen in disbelief. And there’s plenty of eye-rolling moments of insanity here. On the other hand, Lifetime and Hallmark aren’t exactly flooding their networks with films featuring POCs so there’s some novelty to it.
On paper, Elle (Nia Long, Keanu) has the ideal life. She’s married to a nice guy, Marcus (Stephen Bishop, Imposters), their daughter (Aubrey Cleland) has just gone off to college and she’s about to start her new firm.
Things get a bit haywire when Elle encounters an old classmate, David (Omar Epps). After a few rounds of wine and shots, Elle starts talking about how she and Marcus have become strangers. And as those conversations tend to go, David follows Elle into a completely deserted club bathroom.
The film’s premise is built on a shaky foundation since Elle never actually consummates the affair and walks off. David coincidentally is the obsessive stalker type and is a master hacker capable of anything. Clearly this won’t come in handy when Elle rejects him.
Director/co-writer Peter Sullivan (Secret Obsession) and co-writer Rasheeda Garner (Baking Christmas) dutifully handle all the ridiculous plot twists genre fans expect. The first act serves as an information dump that could have been better arranged.
David starts dating Elle’s friend, Courtney (Maya Stojan, Agents of SHIELD); becomes a texting nuisance and even invites Marcus along for a little golf.
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The big problem of course is Elle playing into David’s game when she could render his threat impotent from one quick conversation with Marcus about their near-miss hook-up. That major issue gets even worse when Elle goes full-Lifetime in following David and making the most inconvenient urgent warnings to Courtney.
Sullivan knows and understands this drama thriller game and plays along with all of the questionable rules, but the film would be greatly improved if Elle just used some basic common sense. Like how about thinking the crazy hacker might be able to get into your key-less house so installing a traditional lock?
Epps pulls off dangerously psychotic better than I expected and he’s appropriately menacing. Long has been overdue for projects where she’s the lead, but she’s also due for quality films where she’s the lead. I really enjoyed Bishop’s performance in Imposters and hope he gets more leading man/love interest roles as he’s got a likable, suave nature that would play well in romantic comedies.
Fatal Affair knows it’s target audience and doesn’t bother trying to make a smart, stalker thriller. It’s fine staying within the lines even if the results are one of the weaker additions in the last few years.
Rating: 3 out of 10
Photo Credit: Netflix