The psycho-stalker bitch from hell genre dates back to 1987’s Fatal Attraction, which is still the grandaddy of them all. Nominated for six Oscars, Attraction spawned a few imitators, some good (The Hand that Rocks the Cradle), some not so good (Disclosure), and some in between (Sleeping with the Enemy). But after the genre’s 90’s heyday, the psycho-stalker bitch from hell movies went largely dormant until 2009 when some genius decided to trash up the genre, lose the prestige actors, sink his teeth into it, and have some fucking fun with it.
The movie was Obsessed, starring Idris Elba, Ali Larter, and Beyoncé. They basically combined Fatal Attraction with a Lifetime movie of the week and made it a participatory affair, the kind of movie that demands an audience to yell at the screen. Obsessed, produced on a $20 million budget, made $83 million at the box office and probably tripled that in home viewing. Thanks to Beyoncé, the genre was reborn.
But Hollywood keeps it on the down low. They’re under the radar films cheaply produced and put out during lulls in the release schedule. Films like No Good Deed or The Boy Next Door; trashy, terrible movies that are nevertheless highly entertaining, and they usually double or triple their production budgets and quietly slink away to home video.
The latest and the best of the new crop is Unforgettable, a ridiculous psycho-stalker bitch from hell movie working from the Obsessed template and starring Katherine Heigl, Rosario Dawson and Blank Face McBlankstein. Heigl plays every single tabloid headline that’s ever been written about her: Icy, cold, manipulative, evil, crazy psycho diva. She leans into that public perception, and she leans hard, and I don’t think I’ve ever loved Heigl more.
She plays Tessa Connover, the perfect ex-wife of stubbly McBlankstein, a woman capable of melting your soul with an icy smile. She doesn’t take kindly to Slate Face’s new girlfriend, Julia Banks (Rosario Dawson), who moves into her husband’s house and starts living her life with her child, so Tessa decides to do something about it. She steals Julia’s phone, finds out she has a violent, abusive boyfriend from her past and that the restraining order on him has expired. Tessa creates a Facebook page for Julia and starts sext-messaging the abusive ex posing as Julia, and Tessa gets off on it, masturbating not to the sexts themselves, but to the act of ruining her ex-husband’s new girlfriend.
At the same time, Tessa plays nice — at least briefly — with Julia, all the while playing up her passionate past with Whitey McStubble. “Oh, he was insatiable. We’d fuck on every surface we came across, and he’d ride me like a methed-out stallion.” Meanwhile, Tessa also plays her young daughter against her future step-mom, luring her daughter away while Julia’s not looking and blaming her for losing her daughter, or cutting off her daughter’s hair and blaming Julia because she left it in tangles. “It’s not mommy’s fault that she doesn’t brush your hair.”
Heigl is perfect, Faye Dunaway from Mommie Dearest crossed with January Jones from X-Men and put through Instagram’s Lifetime filter. Every five minutes, there’s another Daaaaaamn moment. Meanwhile, Julia thinks she’s losing her damn mind because her phone disappears, and then her wedding ring goes missing, and she’s getting inexplicable emails from her abusive ex-boyfriend about meeting up in bone town. She finally figures it out when Heigl throws herself down a flight of stairs and, whimpering, elicits Wooden McWooderson’s help while casting blame on Julia. “I don’t know, Cardboard Cutout! She just go so mad at me!”
Eventually, it all comes to a head in typical trash-the-suburban home, “He’s mine!”, “Enough,” “Go to the hell you crazy bitch” fashion, because ultimately, we’ve all paid to see Rosario Dawson beat the shit out of the white lady, but it wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying if Heigl weren’t so exceptionally, deliciously evil. Heigl owns this fucking movie and puts in the kind of performance that would make Ali Larter wilt like the C-lister she is.
Look: Unforgettable is not a good movie, but it’s an amazing movie for what it is: A hell of a fun time watching Katherine Heigl play the role she was born to play.
Katherine Heigl gives the performance of her life as Ivanka Trump in "Why Did Rosario Dawson Steal My White Husband" pic.twitter.com/amEjgIsqVO— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) April 20, 2017