A psychotic temp stalks a successful businessman, and only the man’s equally psychotic wife can stop her.
There’s a certain kind of movie that many would dismiss as simply bad that appeals to me on a visceral level. These films tend to embrace their conceits, throwing away the pretense of sophistication that so many lesser movies hide behind and pushing their frenzied visions into the absurd. I admit, I hadn’t felt this kind of excitement for a mainstream release since I Know Who Killed Me. So does Obsessed measure up?
No one seemed to expect much from Obsessed. Pundits are tearing out their hair trying to figure out its success. The screen I saw it on was one of those second or third tier rooms, as if the theatre management itself didn’t believe in the commercial appeal of the movie, and it was overflowing. I think the answer is obvious. In the same weekend in which a film called Fighting was released, Obsessed delivered the goods. The moment I saw that trailer I knew that I was going for one reason, the same thing the couple who entered the theatre an hour into the movie and left five minutes before the end were seeking; a knockdown, drag-out fight between Ali Larter and BeyoncÃ©. My first thought was that it was the campy, catfight aspect to the movie that brought them in, and while I don’t doubt that it was a huge enticement for a certain type of audience member, I don’t think it was the only reason. Cinematic fights these days are incredibly competent to the point of being sterile. They rarely show the give and take of a real fight, something dirty, mean and exhausting. The last time I can remember seeing something similar was the fight between Elle and The Bride in Kill Bill Vol. 2.
The acting was particularly impressive, particularly considering none of the characters had more than a line or two devoted to their history. These were blank slates that allowed the actors a chance to be forceful, if not nuanced. By far the biggest surprise was BeyoncÃ©, who stole the few scenes which she appeared in. It was to the detriment of the film that she wasn’t more fully involved.
Otherwise, Obsessed is as textbook as it comes, stripped down to the point that it could have been written in hieroglyphs on a cave wall, forgoing originality for a base level of craft. Normally this workmanlike approach would merit a higher score from me, but while Obsessed displays a refreshing lack of pretension in most respects, where it fumbles is in its length and repetitiveness. The stalker’s attempts at getting with her target don’t seem to escalate, they just reiterate what’s already been stated multiple times already, and slow the movie to a crawl when it should be galloping toward the finale.
Recommended If You Like: Fatal Attraction, The Temp, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle