Secret Obsession, or: Why Learning Photoshop Could Come in Handy Later

This week’s pick and the last in our fuck-ups month has thrown up A LOT of questions.

Recuperating from trauma, Jennifer remains in danger as she returns to a life she doesn’t remember.

Brenda SongMike VogelDennis Haysbert

*Spoilers galore*

On one hand this film is quite the waste of space and I’ve seen it twice now. On the other, it’s exactly the kind of movie Jill and I enjoy snarking about. It’s pure unadulterated trash and I don’t regret any of it, even if I’m still scratching my head about some quite major plot points.

Jennifer Williams (Song) is hit by a car and injured horribly after she is chased by a mystery psychopath in the rain late one night. Her head injury is so severe that she doesn’t remember much about the night or the last few years of her life. This is a bit of a bummer since she’s just got married to attentive husband Russell (Mike Vogel). Via the power of a well organised photo system and some adorable anecdotes, Russell is able to fill in some of the blanks – and Jen is relieved to learn how happy they were/are.

After a brief stint in the hospital – or maybe not that brief since there’s time for a ‘healing’ montage – Jennifer is released. Russell takes her home to their lovely house in the mountains and everything is perfect. The thing is, it is kind of perfect, with Jennifer’s every want and need taken care of. Odd then that she isn’t quite as relaxed as she should be in her own home (well maybe not) but as we all would, she starts snooping to try and remember anything she can about her own life. Hint: I bet his password is CreepyBastard69.

There are also a couple of additional flies in the perfect life ointment, including sexy Detective Frank Page (Haysbert) who, as a seasoned member of the po-po can smell a rat a mile off. When he questions a couple of witnesses from Jennifer’s bad night, he starts to piece together a worrying picture… There’s no freaking way all is as it seems.

And who’s the (also quite fine) dark-haired bloke who keeps popping up at the police station, hospital, everywhere? The sinister music that plays with his every appearance would have us believe he knows more than he’s letting on about Jennifer’s accident. But what?

Meanwhile, Jen learns her parents were killed in a fire and that she quit her job before the wedding, so the lovebirds can start a family. When she ponders where her friends and her phone are, Russell tells her her phone was lost the night she was attacked but he’ll get her a new one. Later, he reminds her there’s no phone service in the mountains – and that is the exact moment I would have left his sorry arse. You know, if I wasn’t walking painfully on a broken leg, with no money, no car and severe amnesia.

I’ll come back to this later but it soon becomes clear that there’s something rotten about Russell (I clocked it in the first ten minute) and this is only reinforced when he goes after the mysterious dark-haired bloke and kills him. When Jennifer wakes in the night, she witnesses her beau burying something in the garden. Clue, love: he’s not tending to his prize vegetable patch.

I don’t know how many red flags this girl needs but she is vulnerable so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. Little by little she witnesses chinks in Russell’s nice guy armor, not least when he has a go at her for not wanting to fuck him, the selfish bitch. It is hard to watch Jennifer be gas lit by this sleazy fuck – and I spent a good deal of time shouting at the screen.

Luckily, Frank is a dog with a bone and he’s busy beavering away behind the scenes, finding out exactly who Russell is. He also uncovers the mystery of what happened to Jennifer’s parents – and to her real husband. Frank, it turns out has a tragic backstory of his own (because of course he does) which makes him even more determined to rescue Jennifer.

There’s a very sad segment in which he carefully picks out a birthday gift for his daughter who went missing years previously. Honestly though, this is meant to add depth to his character but it was cliché and pretty unnecessary. Anywho – both Frank and Jen are now on the same page – all they’ve got to do is find each other, right?

Well, I’ll let you find out how that works out but there aren’t many surprises here. Twitter seems to be awash with people left terrified by this movie but it’s very by the numbers and not very scary. I bloody love dramas about stalkers though, may I also recommend My Teacher, My Obsession?

What doesn’t work for me is how opportunistic Russell is. I mean, *SPOILER* but Russell is the killer and not Jennifer’s husband, just a lowly work colleague with an all-encompassing crush. After killing Jen’s husband he went after the woman herself – only for her to get herself run over. Which opened up a whole new world of opportunity for him. What I don’t get is how quickly he put all the photos together to build a picture of their rich relationship history – those are some skills.

Also, dark-haired dude? His story arc comes to nothing. He’s a witness to the accident but what’s his motivation to follow Jen around and be all suspicious about Russell? He’s not even a friend from their previous lives! I don’t get it at all. (Perhaps my film bud will be able to tell me more).

Also, how long have Jennifer’s parents been lying there dead? Didn’t anyone miss them both?

Brenda Song isn’t terrible and she’s nice to look at but really Dennis Haysbert is the glue. The moral of the story is: trust no man and if you can, go home with the nice blonde nurse instead.

Film details:

Secret Obsession
Year: 2019
Director: Peter Sullivan
IMDB Rating: 4.3/10
My Rating: 2/5

What does my own secret obsession think of this straight to video nightmare? Would she take advantage of its memory loss or bury it six feet under? Find out here.

Behind Again

I’m still reviewing Halloween movies here firmly in December and that’s because I’ve been busy and lazy, a wonderful combination. So I’m going to have to squish some of my To Do list into one post, which I kind of hate but what can you do?

Here’s what I’ve been watching since the end of October:

Halloween

I waited for what feels like forever for this 40th anniversary sequel and… I can’t say I was disappointed. A lot of it doesn’t work, some of it spectacularly (looking at you fake Doctor Loomis/terrible podcasters) but all in all David Gordon Green‘s offering is a lot of fun and that’s what I wanted.

Jamie Lee is dope as the deeply affected, original Final Girl™ Laurie Strode. A lifetime of paranoia has made her into a reclusive survivalist and she is barely holding onto her family as a result. But what happens when all that preparation finally comes to fruition? Well, you’ll find out when Michael Myers busts out of the institution that has held him for the last four decades – and the whole thing is as gory and tense as you’d imagine. Plus, there’s something truly disconcerting about the humanisation of The Shape just before shit kicks off.

My Rating

4.5/5. Probably for nostalgia more than anything.

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

In my opinion this movie suffers for not featuring enough Jack Black but IT’s Jeremy Ray Taylor does a fine job as a mini version of the man himself. If I’m honest, I don’t remember too much about the plot (I think because I saw The House with a Clock in its Walls right before it and they’ve sort of blended into one) but I did enjoy its childlike Halloween wonder.

The effects are very good – plenty of inventive monsters and sadistic gummy bears – the kids are fantastic and Slappy is a dollop of mischievous fun. I think I’ll always be here for the Goosebumps movies honestly, they’re charming. I’ll definitely be hitting this up with a re-watch as soon as possible.

My Rating

3.5/5. Witches be crazy.

The Hate U Give

Based on the YA novel by Angie Thomas which I have half read, THUG is a pretty solid adaptation, if a little heavy-handed in its delivery. Starring the ridiculously talented Amandla Stenberg as our main protagonist Starr and the ridiculously cool Regina Hall as Starr’s ferocious mother Lisa, this movie examines subject matter that is all too relevant. I enjoyed the ride and also cried like a baby throughout.

While I could never understand what Starr and her family and community have to deal with, I was pumping the air with triumph as Starr stood up for herself and her lost friends in the most dramatic, tense scenes imaginable. Not only does this movie look at the horror of racism and police brutality, it also hones in on the insidiousness of subconscious prejudice, particularly within Starr’s own friendship group. Russell Hornsby is fantastic too as Starr’s wise old ex-gang member father.

My Rating

4/5. Powerful stuff.

Slaughterhouse Rulez

Meh. This, sadly, was a steaming pile of nothingness and given the cast, I’m surprised. It’s just not that memorable, funny or endearing – and takes an age to get going. When it does there are a couple of okay moments but there’s not enough to make it worth the effort. Sorry, Nick Frost, I still love you.

My Rating

2.5/5. A real stinker.

Widows

My takeaway from this is that Viola Davis should be cast in every film from now on. Literally every single one. As freshly widowed Veronica, she is mesmerising – the perfect blend of vulnerability and strength – I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. She is matched perfectly though by Elizabeth Debicki as Alice, who steals scenes left and right, even from the Queen herself.

I enjoyed this film very much, it follows the lives of a handful of women left devastated by the death of their husbands, a band of bank robbers. But as with most crime capers, there are twists at every turn and danger lurking in every shadow, not least the terrifying Manning Brothers, Jatemme and Jamal (played, respectively, by two of my favourite actors, Daniel Kaluuya and Brian Tyree Henry).

My Rating

4/5. Girl power at its finest.

***

What have you been watching?