‘If [Secret Obsession] is any indication of [Peter Sullivan’s] career, then it’s a career I do not wish to keep an eye on’
Secret Obsession, 2019
Directed by: Peter Sullivan
Written by: Kraig Wenman, Peter Sullivan
Starring: Brenda Song, Mike Vogel, Dennis Haysbert
After a woman, Jennifer (Brenda Song), is struck by a car whilst trying to escape an attacker, she awakens in the hospital with no memory of anything or anyone. Her husband turns up and aids her recovery but soon the lack of memory starts making Jennifer suspicious.
I watched this with a couple of friends and we all came to the same conclusion early on: woman with no memory being introduced to her ‘husband’ means something’s wrong. Especially with a title of Secret Obsession. And even more so after seeing Jennifer running from an unknown attacker. Why didn’t Jennifer just accidentally get hit on her way home from work? By adding the thriller side of it, we can see the twist coming ages before it does, and then we’re just left bored until it finally happens. Unfortunately, that is the fault of Peter Sullivan, who takes writing and directing credits, as he poorly tells this story.
It’s revealed later on that people have been murdered, too, to further the plot of the film, but why haven’t those murders been reported? There’s a detective, Frank (Dennis Haysbert), who’s suspicious of Russell (Mike Vogel, Cloverfield), Jennifer’s husband, and he could very easily put the pieces together if just a single person in the entire world informed him that people have gone missing. Presumably the murdered victims had no friends of note, because of how long they’ve been killed when we see them, or jobs or hobbies or anything that requires meeting anybody else, because their bodies are left to rot at home. Seeing as Jennifer was being chased, why then does it take him so long to do any actual investigation? He uncovers the truth later on by interviewing someone, but it’s not a clever discovery. It’s something he should have done months ago (I presume the timespan lasts months due to the state of the bodies and her recovery).
My rating is probably the highest this film should get by anyone (Rotten Tomatoes currently holds it at 27% and IMDB at a 4.2 rating), because it’s just so run-of-the-mill and boring. Peter Sullivan has co-wrote a bunch of made-for-TV movies with a theme: The Wrong Cheerleader, The Wrong Tutor, The Wrong Mommy, The Wrong Boy Next Door, The Wrong Stepmother and The Wrong Teacher. Sandwiched in the middle of their releases (all this year) is Secret Obsession. I counted at least fifteen made-for-TV films under the The Wrong titles, and Secret Obsession fits right in with all of those (perhaps The Wrong Husband would give the game up from the second minute, rather than us figuring it out by the third). IMDB lists him as having 88 credits as a writer, 32 credits as a director and 116 as a producer: if this, one of his later films, is any indication of his career, then it’s a career I do not wish to keep an eye on.
I’ve certainly seen worse over the years, worse plots, worse acting, worse visual effects, so its grade is perhaps a little higher than it merits, but it’s just so bland. There is an idea here, but go full-on with the romance, delete the assault at the beginning and make the twist somewhat surprising and impactful. If you want to watch a Netflix original, then, in the words of Peter Sullivan, this is The Wrong Film.
Personal: * * Acting: * * Writing: * Presentation: * * *
Overall Rating: * *