To be fair, ripping off Fatal Attraction is nothing new. There have been plenty of copycats over the years about an “affair gone wrong” thriller movie, but unfortunately, Fatal Affair (which even almost copies the title of the classic) simply doesn’t work. The plot is rather simple (as most of the genre is), but the execution also hinders.
Lawyer Ellie (the ever-ageless Nia Long) and her architect husband Marcus (Stephen Bishop) is approaching that midlife moment of their marriage. Their daughter has gone off to college, so they are ready for the empty nester phase of their marriage. They have moved out of the city to a beachfront home where Ellie can now open and run her own private practice, while Marcus continues to rehab from an auto accident, which displays that Ellie’s a little frustrated in the bedroom.
On Ellie’s last day of work at her law firm, she meets former college friend David (Omar Epps), who’s an IT consultant hired for a case she’s closing. Being that they are old friends, they agree to hang out after work. While everything is casual and old friends catching up at first, the liquor kicks in, and soon enough the two are getting hot a steamy in the bathroom at the lounge. Ellie calls things off just before their session gets too serious, but that then opens a Pandoras Box, which drives just about all of the “plot” of Fatal Affair.
We get to learn that David’s somewhat of a psycho and starts a game of cat and mouse with Ellie as he stalks in person and via the internet, cause he’s a highly skilled hacker (even though we never see him do one thing with a computer besides deleting an e-mail). David embeds himself into Ellie’s life by dating and brainwashing her colleague Courtney (Maya Stojan) and hanging out golfing with Ellie’s husband Marcus. For the most part, David’s able to stay in the shadows and continues terrorizing Ellie because he “loves her.” But soon enough, we get a third act confrontation that’s incredibly cliched until Fatal Affair comes to its inevitable conclusion. That’s not to say it’s all doom and gloom for the quality of Fatal Affair. Nia Long works with the script and manages to elevate above the material. She really needs more work as she’s still a fine actress as you remember from her late 90s/early 2000s bloom.
However, the main culprit in the movie is the writing, directing, and the villain David. Omar Epps, who normally is a great actor (as evidenced by his guest-starring role on This Is Us this past season), just doesn’t do psycho well. Not one moment he has on screen is authentic or even believable. He comes across as cartoonish villain and any evil man in a Tyler Perry movie (not A Fall From Grace bad, but pretty close). There are even a few moments where he’s supposed to go from 0-100 to show his mental instability, and it unfortunately just doesn’t feel right. This might be due to the script, which probably said “just act mean and crazy” instead of having a dialogue, but it’s a completely wasted opportunity for an actor who normally delivers in his roles. Chalk it up to him not normally playing a bad guy in movies.
That said, if you want to turn your brain off for 89 minutes and have a fun time watching a (non-erotic) erotic thriller, Fatal Affair won’t bee too bad and enjoyable for some parts. It’s definitely a 90s throwback that will have you yelling at the screen for all the crazy, predictable, silly, and fun twists and turns the movie has.