REVIEW: ‘Fatal Affair’ is a thriller everyone can skip

Netflix, how dare you steal this movie from the Lifetime Channel.

That joke isn’t just based on the genre this movie is in, it also fits because the director of this motion picture has a lot of experience in the realm of TV flicks. The film follows a married woman named Ellie (Nia Long) who’s just moved to a new home with her husband Marcus (Stephen Bishop).

The movie picks up with Ellie attending a rather routine meeting at her job, but that changes when she sees her firm has hired a tech expert named David (Omar Epps). David is Ellie’s old friend from college, and the two are happy to meet up again. However, Ellie soon finds David to have dangerous ideas and motives.

“Fatal Affairs” is 100% a paint by numbers, run of the mill viewing experience. The movie goes through the domestic thriller motions from start to finish and never throws any curve balls at an audience.

The film is 90 minutes Epps’ character doing sneaky things and freaking Ellie out until we get to the pathetic climax. There are fresh ideas out there for this genre, “The Invisible Man” proved that earlier in 2020, and a few years ago the film “Elle” showed filmmakers can push the boundaries of the concept.

Hell, even last year’s “The Intruder” was more enjoyable because it was so over the top and schlocky that one couldn’t help but have some fun watching it.

Courtesy Hybrid Films and Netflix

“Fatal Affair,” meanwhile, just plays this over done situation so straightforward and in such a generic way that it just becomes a chore to sit through. It’s also noticeable that not much happens, either.

The whole second act is David doing a few somewhat creepy things like showing up to a dinner that Ellie and her husband are hosting, or going to golf with Ellie’s husband. It’s stalkerish, of course, and in real life that would obviously be frightening. In a movie, though, it just doesn’t add a lot of tension.

The acting is about the quality one would expect from this movie. To her credit Long does give it an effort but the material she’s given doesn’t offer much. Epps meanwhile plays his role with zero subtlety. He may as well have just been wearing a shirt saying “I’m the bad guy.”

This is a light afternoon thriller that just doesn’t bring much to the table. It’s below average, but the fact is it’s less that there are a lot of bad things featured here and more so that the film never really offers anything good. 1.5 out of 5.



Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

3 thoughts on “REVIEW: ‘Fatal Affair’ is a thriller everyone can skip”

  1. Hey Matthew! I saw a snippet of someone else’s review the other day and now yours confirmed what a dud this is. It’s not surprising though based from the trailer, which I could barely even finish, ahahaha.

    Liked by 1 person

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