Secret Obsession has a panic-stricken woman runs out of her car on a rainy night to escape from a man’s hold, someone who is after her with a nicely sharped shiny knife. When a film intensely starts like this, we want to be promised that the feeling of unease will remain intact through out the film. Instead, we are given a plot that moves, no, it falls flat and fails to make us nervous.
Secret Obsession, the new Netflix original film, is about Jennifer (Brenda Song) who loses her memories after an accident, finds comfort in Russell (Mike Vogel) her caring husband. She quickly realizes that she is in a completely extraneous surrounding. Jennifer lives in a beautiful secluded house with Russell that is cut off from the outside world. The pleasant visuals of the mountains are barely captured.
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We follow the events between Jennifer and Russell and her terrifying flashes of memories and we follow a sincere detective who removes the snarls one by one in parallel. The problem with this thrilling drama is that we don’t ask the question “Why” along with Jennifer because we clearly see what is coming at us. The film doesn’t keep us at the edge of the seats which lacks the interest in the film’s progress. It is annoying to watch some plot moves get repeat itself and it surely tests our patience.
With a plot like an odd Lynchian component, it could have been effective if the pace of the film set right to its tone. The pace of the film is the loose gravel that hinders its efficiency. The various elements in the film, like when Jennifer’s faith is challenged, the unraveling of an earnest detective and the “Why” part in this leery story, are intertwined to form thick threads. When those threads are tied together, the knot is not tight enough to hold the anxiety till the very end. We are not found to be clasping our hands to our chest in horror as the movie proceeds. Though it runs for only 97 minutes, this dramatic thriller seems longer than that.
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Brenda genuinely expresses her emotions and distress but the staged acts of the other characters in the film reduce the seriousness in the movie at certain points. Mike Vogel manages to convey his remorseless act with very little emotion in his eyes that spreads the menace in the film. But he is not scary enough. The characters “read” their dialogues instead of emoting them. The film might have wished to reduce to a level where a cheap jump scare shot could have helped to cope with the frustrating film watching experience.
There is always a sense of detachment between the film and its characters which makes it difficult to connect with them. The film’s ground is not unfamiliar but it could have been interesting when the performances of the artists seem less inorganic. The film doesn’t have any stimulating high point since the beginning and stays consistent till the end. The background score seems overpowering sometimes to hint us how to feel while we watch the film which is not in any way helping the film. Secret Obsession is a decent attempt in not falling apart.