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Fatal Affair (A Movie Review)


Starring Nia Long, Omar Epps, Stephen Bishop, Aubrey Cleland, Maya Stojan, KJ Smith, Jason Shane-Scott, Carolyn Hennesy, Fredella Calloway, Estelle Swaray, Jacob Gaines, Kym Jackson, Lyn Alicia Henderson, Kate Orsini, Michael C. Mahon, Amy Arburn, Britt George, Richard Jacobs, Cailan Robinson and Trevor Wooldridge.

Screenplay by Peter Sullivan and Rasheeda Garner.

Directed by Peter Sullivan.

Distributed by Netflix. 89 minutes. Rated TV-14.

You know pretty much everything you need to know about Fatal Affair just by reading the title.

It is not hard to figure out the plotline – married woman going through some doubts about her life runs into an old handsome man from her past. They go out, she gets drunk and she gives in to the moment. When she realizes that she made a mistake and tries to break things off with the guy, he gets all stalker-y on her. Turns out that he is just a bit insane and has been obsessing about her since college.

And to paraphrase the immortal words of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction – the similarly-titled high-water mark of this popular-if-a-bit-overdone storyline: He is not going to be ignored.

It’s all pretty formula stuff – in fact, I’m relatively sure co-stars Nia Long and Omar Epps have played similar roles before, probably multiple times. However, there is no law that formula can’t be done well. In this case, Fatal Affair is not a bad film, even though it’s not even a tiny bit original. It’s not exactly good, either, but if you are looking for a shut-off-your-brain thriller, you could do worse.

The film revolves around Ellie Warren (Long), a lawyer who is going through a series of life changes. Her husband (Stephen Bishop) is mostly recovered from a serious biking accident. (He was in a body cast for six months). Her daughter has gone away to college. She is leaving her long-time law firm to take a chance on opening her own practice. She and her husband have just bought their dream home on the beach.

Into this spin appears David (Epps), a handsome old friend from college who is hired for his specialized work (essentially, he’s a corporate hacker) in her last case for her old firm. After the case, they end up going out for drinks, and then more drinks, and dancing, and eventually making out in the club bathroom. Ellie slams on the brakes eventually when things are getting too intimate, but like I said before, David is not the type to take no for an answer.

Suddenly he starts showing up at places that Ellie is. He texts her constantly. He starts dating her best friend (Maya Stojan) to get to her. He invites Ellie’s hubby to go golfing. Ellie starts looking into him and finds out that his ex-wife was murdered. Old friends from college tell Ellie that David always had a crush on her, though she never saw him as anything but a friend.

You know he’s cray cray because his great apartment overlooking downtown San Francisco is sterile and lifeless, no art on the walls, full of shelves which have absolutely nothing on them.

Soon David is lurking outside of their house and even sometimes even breaking in.

Fatal Affair sometimes relies on unrealistic plot devices – for example, what are the chances that her long-time best friend will believe the story of some guy she just met over that of her bestie? However, if you’re looking for plot coherence, you’re in the wrong place.

If you’re looking for a formula thriller, Fatal Affair is decent – not great, but not horrible. And it’s on Netflix, so it’s not like you have to pay for it. (Except, of course, for the monthly Netflix fee.) So, if you have an hour and a half and nothing to do, you could do worse.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2020 All rights reserved. Posted: July 16, 2020.

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