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Stream It or Nah? Netflix's 'Secret Obsession' Wishes It Were a Cheesy Trainwreck

By Dustin Rowles | Streaming | July 19, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | Streaming | July 19, 2019 |


Netflix’s latest exercise in going-through-the-motions tedium is Secret Obsession, the sort of monotonous thriller the streaming services squeezes out once a week not so much to attract viewers but to increase the number of thumbnails available to subscribers. As other streaming services come into the market and take their own offerings back from Netflix, Netflix has been forced to provide more and more of its own content to keep subscribers scrolling. Does it matter if it’s good? Eh. As long as there are some good options mixed among the filler, Netflix can continue to maintain the illusion of being a powerhouse streamer with a massive catalog.

Secret Obsession, like last week’s Point Blank with Anthony Mackie, is exactly what you’d expect it to be. There’s not a single moment that you don’t see coming from 17 miles away. You can almost predict every frame of the rest of the film after watching the first two minutes, which sees a woman named Jennifer (Brenda Song) running from an unknown aggressor until she’s hit by a passing car. When she wakes up in the hospital, she has no memory of either the accident or her life before the accident. However, a man named Russell (Mike Vogel) is in her room claiming to be her husband, and though she feels apprehensive around Russell, there is a wedding ring on her finger and Russell is able to explain to Jennifer how they met.

It doesn’t take a 45th President of the United States to see where this is headed. Russell takes Jennifer home to a house that is isolated on a mountain, where there is no cell coverage. Jennifer’s old phone is missing. Her parents, Russell tells her, are dead, and her best friend is on vacation in Hawaii. She’s completely isolated. Jennifer reluctantly buys Russell’s story about their supposed marriage until Russell gets a little rough with her when she says she’s not ready to have sex with him. Meanwhile, Dennis Haysbert plays a detective who has a hunch that there’s more to the accident than meets the eye, and in pursuing the investigation, he begins to suspect that Russell is not who he says he is.

Secret Obsession is so painfully, excruciatingly predictable that the only thing that kept me going is the hope that the movie might offer a dumb twist, like finding out that Russell really is her husband and that there’s another bad guy behind the accident. No such luck. There is no curveball in Secret Obession. It never once strays from the template. There is not a solitary surprise or twist. It doesn’t even have the decency to be cheesy or hilariously awful. It just is. It’s not even a movie you watch, so much as one you endure while making the hurry-up motion with your finger until it’s mercifully over.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

Header Image Source: Netflix

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