CHENNAI: Man’s obsession can slide into dangerous territory, and cinema has told us umpteen tales about this. The 1987 film “Fatal Attraction” was probably the first in this genre that explored how ruinous this kind of infatuation could be. There is even a scene of Glen Close’s character pressure-cooking a pet rabbit! Peter Sullivan takes us back into this psychologically scary territory of how a man gets obsessed with a girl he dated during his college days.
David Hammond (played with a deadly expression by Omar Epps) returns into Ellie Warren’s (Nia Long) blissfully married life with Marcus Warren (Stephen Bishop) and teenage daughter Brittany (Aubrey Cleland). Now on Netflix and co-written by Sullivan, “Fatal Affair” does not lose time before drawing us directly into the mess that Warren creates for herself.
A chance meeting and a drink with Hammond lead to a brief temptation, which Warren stops from going the whole way, and he takes that as a signal. Despite repeated attempts at dissuading him from pursuing her, he does not give up. Rather, his resolve to get her back gets increasingly stronger until it reaches a perilous point. The climax, when it comes, is played out on a dark night, on a private beach in a very thrilling way.
We are let into Hammond’s questionable character very early into the movie. When Warren asks him if he is crazy, we already know that he has had psychological issues. His therapist is very concerned about Hammond’s mental health, and later, as we see the dangerous glint in his eyes, we are left with little doubt that he is terribly unstable.
The movie’s subject has been beaten to death, and the film gives a feeling of the 1980s. It is certainly no patch on “Fatal Attraction,” which was breathtakingly written and brilliantly performed. In contrast, Sullivan’s work appears jaded and traverses a path much too straight. There are very few ups and downs, barring the climax, and even these are devoid of any novelty. In the final analysis, “Fatal Affair” falls flat.