“Obsessed” is the first full-fledged b-movie that is not directed by either Robert Rodriguez or Quentin Tarantino that I have seen in a movie theatre in a long time. However, as opposed to the infamous b-movie knock offs directed by those two rebellious directors, the only surprise that comes with watching this movie, is how seriously it takes itself. Unlike what I had assumed from watching the previews, this is not a genre film, nor an exploitation film, this film actually aspires to be a serious stalker thriller, much along the lines of “Fatal Attraction”, “Single White Female”, “Fear”, “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” and even “Lakeview Terrace”. The problem is, it does not even come close to attaining the credibility and suspense of the movies it draws its inspiration from, and that is mostly due to the fact that Obsessed is as subtle and profound as its title.

Steve Shill’s directing is as profound as a grade one math class. Had Shill understood the savoury trashiness of this script and not taken it at face value, “Obsessed” would have been a much more entertaining film. For a movie like this to truly work and be taken seriously, one needs, besides an able director, a stellar cast. “Fatal Attraction” would have been nothing without Glenn Close and Michael Douglas and “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” would have been completely forgettable had it not been for Rebecca De Mornay’s striking performance. On that note, “Obsessed”’s cast is far from being stellar. Idris Elba comes off as emasculated and boring instead of an alpha male oozing with testosterone, and Beyoncé Knowles looks like she’s hooked up to an IV feeding her a Prozac, Ambien and Ativan cocktail in every scene she’s in, whether she’s crying or kicking ass. Ali Larter as the obsessed bitch is by far the movie’s only bright side as she delivers her lines and emanates her psychotic mood swings perfectly, however there is only so much she can do with such a bad script. Shill should have seen all of this coming, and aimed for a campy b-movie instead of trying to fool his audience into thinking it’s watching a smart film.

“Obsessed” is definitely not the kind of movie to see if you feel like being intellectually stimulated. Its premise is anorexic and its screenplay is rudimentary at best. I really wonder what went through Shill’s brain when he decided, after having read David Loughery’s script, to direct it as a straightforward thriller. Whoever directed the preview to this film should have taken Shill’s job, because he or she understood that the film’s essence, goal and purpose was its third act. That no matter how one-dimensional the characters are, no matter how many plot holes this story can offer, the one and only reason why people will go see this film is to see Knowles kick the shit out of some white bitch for trying to steal her man. There is no need for character development in a movie like this, there is not even a need for a plot, and sadly, Shill seems to have been more preoccupied with hiding the fact that his characters are one-dimensional and that his plot is inexistent, rather than aiming to create the most delicious catfight to have ever hit the silver screen.

The third act, the confrontation between the two women, should have been much longer and much more intense in order for this movie to be truly worth your time. It needed to go where no movie had gone before. I wanted to see hair extensions being pulled out, nails peeling skin off of their faces, I wanted to hear them call each other vile names and throw each other through the house’s walls. I wanted a fight that would rival any WWF showdown. Instead I got a lacklustre five-minute fight, filled with clichés and horrible one-liners. Resultantly, “Obsessed” comes off as a dull and anti-climatic b-movie. Had the catfight been over-the-top, this movie would have probably been one of my favourite of its genre.

All of that being said, “Obsessed” is still a pretty entertaining movie, if only for Larter’s performance. It is definitely an enjoyable guilty pleasure, as long as you go in the theatre knowing that you will watch a missed opportunity and ultimately a bad movie. It is a shame however, that it chose to deny itself of a sense of humour and play it safe. This could have been an extremely entertaining movie had it been directed by someone with a vision and passion for genre filmmaking like Robert Rodriguez or Quentin Tarantino…

Review by Ralph Arida