Secret Obsession is a straight to DVD type of movie, so it makes perfect sense that it is on a streaming platform like Netflix. For all the thoughtful movies Netflix has, this is not one of them. The trailer of the movie already spoils it for the viewer, so I walked into the movie pretty certain with the direction it was going to take.
Brenda Song (Jennifer Williams) delivers a valiant effort in trying to make this a competent thriller, with a never-say-die attitude and the spunk needed to take on the man obsessed with her. The problem is, I am never convinced she is in any trouble. It’s not that Mike Vogel does a bad job playing her crazy stalker, the movie is just too transparent in painting him with mad strokes. Her guard never quite goes down with him, which is to the movie’s detriment.
It would have been more effective if she had fallen in love with him, only to realise what he was. As he chases and she hobbles and hides, you will find yourself watching the time more than these chase sequences. He also needs some training in Photoshop, because none of those pictures looked remotely credible. I guess the head injury Jennifer suffers doesn’t allow her to question this until much later.
For a movie titled Secret Obsession, the obsession isn’t well presented. We just see Vogel’s character lurking in photos, looking angrily at Jennifer and her beau, but we never really get what started the obsession in the first place. He is angry with her for not seeing him, however, he never allows her to see him or demonstrates his interest – evidently he expects her to be a mind reader. Her relationship is so vanilla and cringeworthy as well. The constant refrain she gets from the love of her life: “I’ll love you forever and a day.” That literally makes no sense yet he says it every moment he appears on screen. How can I feel anything for the life she has lost because of her stalker when her relationship feels so bland and underdeveloped?
The scariest thing about the movie is how isolated Jennifer is. Nobody seems to care that she’s missing (and we find out why later on), with the exception of lone detective Frank Page (Dennis Haysbert), who is dealing with losses of his own. There is enough suspicion on his part to continue the investigation, and like we expect, he finds out the truth and shows up at the stalker’s doorstep. Even though Vogel’s character kills every single person who gets in his way, he decides to keep the detective alive, because the movie needs Page for the penultimate confrontation.
With all the attention this movie is getting on social media, it is safe to say that Netflix has really started to develop a trend with these bad movies. They are so bad that people find themselves going online to tell people how bad it is, which then generates more viewership. This was the same thing with The Christmas Prince, which is just an embarrassment of a rom-com, yet it went viral and is now a trilogy. Let’s hope there isn’t a Secret Obsession 2, and if there is, we need to boycott it – for the sake of good taste and cinematic sanity.
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Secret Obsession is more comedy than thriller. Not even Mike Vogel's smouldering good looks can save this dumpster fire of a movie.
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