A one night stand for a married man brings out the worst case of fatal attraction in this 90’s inspired B movie thriller, with Hilary Swank. Thankfully no bunnies were hurt during the plot……
Is the bogeyman hiding in plain sight genre heading back for a resurgence? Having become a feature for most thrillers in the late 80’s and early 90’s in which we had everyone from cops, boyfriends, stepfathers, teenagers and countless more, all happy to become psycho killers and make some poor person’s life a living hell.
Director Deon Taylor and actor Michael Ealey sure do love this formula, having made The Intruder last year, that saw Dennis Quaid selling his old house to Ealey and his wife, only to then target them for a bit of murder and mayhem. Perhaps Ealey loves to be tormented as an actor as having suffered that ordeal, he now faces a woman cop with the same psychotic issues.
Ealey plays Derrick, a rich sports agent, with a lavish house and a beautiful wife, wearing the best tailored suits and driving the standard flashy fast cars, who goes to Las Vegas on a business trip and ends up having a one night stand with Hilary Swank’s Val.
The early signs of a Glen Close clone, appears in the morning when Val refuses to give him back his phone unless he has sex with her again, but having already taken off his wedding ring and given a false name, Derrick assumes their paths will never cross again, but of course before you could shout “Have you seen Fatal Attraction?” at his direction, a twist of fate means that Derrick’s life is all set to turn upside down.
Having returned home, guilt ridden and in the midst of a passionate embrace with his wife, a noise from another room startles them both and upon investigating, Derrick is attacked by a masked intruder who he somehow manages to fight off. The police are called and in walks the detective to investigate the break in, non other than Val herself, who doesn’t seem too pleased to see a ring on Derrick’s finger.
With shades of Unlawful Entry mixed in with a Hitchcock classic, what follows is a basic by the book thriller that many of you would have seen countless of times. Val promises to keep their night of tryst a secret, but then like Columbo, turns up unexpectedly, dropping little hints to his unsuspected wife, while Derrick stares on, with every inch of his body no doubt, trembling with anxiety.
To be fair though, script writer David Loughery who ironically also wrote The Intruder, does try to offer at least one or two different plot directions that will keep you interest so boredom never sets in. With the backstory of Val trying desperately to see her own daughter, having being denied access during a bitter break up with her ex-husband (Danny Pino), the script doesn’t just offer up a lover wanting to make rabbit soup with the kids pet.
There is one decent and surprising twist that turns Val into a serious threat, demonstrating just much of a danger Derrick is in, but for all its build up, the film never really grabs the full throttle and goes for the jugular, with the pace staying the same, despite the high stakes on offer.
Swank of course can do this kind of role in her sleep and carries the film on her shoulders and while the climatic battle is as formulaic as it comes, Fatale will appease many who are struggling to find some new material for a weekend watch.
It may be miles away from the many entries of the golden era of the Psycho Stalker trend, but it will no doubt fill the gap, as we await patiently for the backlog of new films to finally arrive for us to feast on.