My oh my… where to begin? Fatal Affair is like a low grade Lifetime movie. A lot of Lifetime movies are actually better than this film. This film is a scathing insult to all the great erotic thrillers of cinemas history, ones that had quality writing and capable actors. There are three huge problems here and they are the exceptionally poor script, the subpar performances, and the laughably predictable moments. Even the title is just lazy and uninventive… Fatal Affair? Really?
I’ve only seen a couple of Nia Long’s past films but from what I’d seen I thought she was pretty good. Not one of the best, but she got the job done. In this film, she doesn’t give a great performance and isn’t the strongest in the cast but she isn’t nearly as bad as Omar Epps. Omar Epps just isn’t convincing at all in this role. Watching his performance, you’d think you were watching a parody of an erotic thriller. I couldn’t take him seriously and in a film like this, you must be able to take the villain seriously. Maya Stojan is also really bad in her supporting role. There’s one dramatic scene between her and Long where she just can’t deliver and botches what’s supposed to be an intense confrontational scene.
Luckily there is one cast member who actually gives a worthy performance and that’s Stephen Bishop who plays Long’s husband. Bishop is lucky enough to have looks and talent and fits his role very well. He’s able to make us believe that he really does care about his wife… so much so that I kept thinking well why the hell are you even tempted by this other guy? That’s one thing I could not get.. her husband is a lot better looking and a lot more charming. Maybe if Epps had given a better performance there would have been some reason for her to be tempted by him but I just couldn’t see it.
On to the script Fatal Affair offers up… spoiler: it ain’t good! They throw in every possible genre cliché and they can’t even pull those off well. Every bit of the script is bare minimum with zero effort to spice things up or entertain the audience. We as the audience are only going to be as entertained as the film allows us to be and this film just doesn’t care. It’s frustrating because this type of formula can be pulled off pretty well if done right, we’ve seen that before.
There have also been some erotic thrillers like this in the recent past that certainly weren’t that good but at least they went full camp and entertained to an extent. Take a film like Unforgettable starring Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson… was that film smart or serious? No not at all but it had actors who knew to camp things up and a script that at least tried to have some fun. This film is just bland, boring, poorly acted for the most part, and laughably stupid at times.
The only things that Fatal Affair offers up that are worth anything is Stephen Bishop’s performance and the beautiful scenery that’s pervasive throughout. Everything else is disappointingly lazy and is sure to leave a bad taste in your mouth. The only thing this is really good for is to show upcoming filmmakers and actors how NOT to do a feature film. I certainly hope that Nia Long is more discerning with projects in the future and I do hope to see more out of Stephen Bishop!
Do yourself a favor and watch Basic Instinct, Unfaithful, or Fatal Attraction instead of this garbage! Trust me, those films will do something this film just isn’t capable of – entertain you!