There’s a point less than two minutes into Obsessed when Beyoncé’s clingy super-shrew steps on a weak floorboard in the attic of her new home.
Whether you’ve seen the headache-making, spoilerrific trailers that haunted cinemas for months or not, it will be painfully obvious that we’ll return to this very floorboard in 100-or-so minutes and that someone will fall through it…
Obsessed is, well, obsessed with making sure even the severely addled among us understand what’s going on every ridiculous second, as if the producers assumed we’d be texting our BFFs through most of it.
This is the well-worn tale of a successful, effortlessly charismatic businessman (Idris Elba) with a beautiful-but-pushy wife (Knowles) and a gleaming metal-and-glass office, whose perfect life takes a turn for the weird when he becomes the target of an absurdly attractive temp (Ali Larter) who shoots from flirty go-getter to psychotic, self-destructive stalker in the blink of an eye.
It’s Fatal Attraction for the Facebook generation. Unlike Michael Douglas’ unfeeling cad, however, Elba’s Derek doesn’t even do anything to deserve his wife’s disdain or his temp worker’s obsession.
He’s just a victim of rumour, erased emails and missed mobile calls. Completely outwitted and overpowered by these two equally conniving and repellent women, he’s forced to simply sit back and watch them battle it out, like lumbering Toho monsters with $300 haircuts.
Given the ham-fisted foreshadowing and small-scale mayhem, it appears that director Steve Shill (Dexter, Knight Rider) is more comfortable with episodic television than an engorged Hollywood production. In fact, Obsessed often feels like a supersized version of Law & Order. You almost miss the IKEA ads every 15 minutes.
Still, Larter and Knowles are so over-the-top here that they deserve a big-screen showcase. Clearly, their crazy-girl settings were both cranked to 11 for this one.
Lurching woozily between daytimesoap psychodrama and a brainless, claws-out, pseudo-feminist slasher flick, Obsessed is one boiled rabbit away from bad-film nirvana.