Every few weeks, Netflix will drop a truly terrible film. A film that does not deserve your precious time, and yet somehow demands it. Secret Obsession is the latest, and it is truly heinous and should have never been made.
It might even be a cursed film, that is how terrible it is. And yet, you will find yourself at 4pm on a hungover Sunday hitting pause while you refill your chip bowl, because you simply cannot miss one second of bad acting and poorly thought-out plot. Like I and my colleague Louis found ourselves doing separately this weekend, brought together via Instagram Stories and a mutual hate spiral over this film.
So here are our thoughts the day after. In short? Watch it, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
MEL: Ok so the opening sequence actually had me. Like, I was pretty fucking scared and initially I thought I had mistaken this film for being a terrible melodramatic mess and that it * might * be a genuinely compelling thriller.
LOUIE: So much same, and I was under the impression that Brenda Song was an A+ actor purely from watching her in the Suite Life of Zack & Cody but that hope was quickly obliterated about two minutes in. Did…did the director tell our girl Brenda to over-act every single scene
MEL: GOD yes, her concerned-face was at level 460. I wanted to just gently grab her by the shoulders and be like “beb, we know you’re on the brink of death, you don’t need to furrow your brow until it swallows your eyes whole.” So I immediately want to talk about how she is stuck in the toilet block or whatever, and the Bad Guy is kicking in the doors – and then she somehow sneaks out (still no idea how she got out) and gets in his car which we JUST saw pull into the drive… and it doesn’t start? Like magically the car has borked itself in 5 minutes of time passing.
LOUIE: I DID NOT GET IT EITHER. They conveniently edited out the scene where she magically slides under the toilet doors without him seeing. But also, why did the Bad Guy give up checking the doors halfway through? Laziest Stabby Joe I’ve ever seen. My only reasoning about the car sitch was that she just bought an absolute lemon off Craigslist the night before and the seller did her dirty.
MEL: Look, I can suspend my disbelief on that I GUESS. But still. We were already in the ridiculous. So then she runs into the middle of the street and gets hit by a car, leading to a hospital visit. I honestly was like where the shit has this film got to go here, we’ve seen it all. Gotta hand it to them, it was a wild opening.
LOUIE: It was the perfect level of trash that I personally can’t get enough of. But also, was Bad Guy’s plan to actually kill her? Coz it seemed like he had a longterm plan that very much involved her being alive.
MEL: Right!? Her being hunted down by Bad Guy who, as everyone I am sure is aware, is Secretly Obsessed with her, did not seem to make sense at all. I guess maybe the reason he had his nonsensical weapon of a knife (??? get a gun???) was so he could just mildly fuck her up and take her. Ok so we get to the hospital and after some ER drama, we meet her extremely hot husband who, from literally the minute he arrives, seems Very Evil.
LOUIE: Yes but he also seemed Very Much My Type so I was in denial that he was indeed the Bad Guy. Even if I did find out he was evil as fuck I’d find it really hard to not want to fuck him – I think I need to raise my standards. What gave you evil vibes?
MEL: Ummmm, just his WHOLE FUCKING VIBE? Also the bit where he goes to chill in the waiting room, and starts moodily flicking his lighter open and closed. No one who is pure and good flicks their lighter in a hospital waiting room, that is le fact.
LOUIE: See I didn’t even notice that, I was too busy staring at his mug. I also find it very hard to believe that Jen didn’t have a next of kin emergency contact? Like, where is ANYONE SHE KNOWS.
MEL: Omg right? Like I don’t want to jump too far ahead but we know she had parents. She’s not like, a Home & Away orphan. Another question I have is why Jen had perfect smoky eye makeup on her one un-injured eye. It was fresh, that shit did not survive a toilet block brush with death and torrential downpour + car accident.
LOUIE: My suspicions is that one of the nurses or doctors touched her makeup up because they sure as shit weren’t doing their job like, you know, vetting strange obsessed weirdos from entering her hospital room.
MEL: So then we meet Mr Detective, who is… buying some cute toy from a cute toy vendor? I did not understand why that scene was necessary. So we know he’s a nice guy?
LOUIE: Well if that’s what they were going for it worked, no Bad Guy buys cute toys as far as I know. He did seem to be very invested from the get-go so for a hot sec I thought HE was the obsessed Bad Guy. What a plot twist that woulda been.
MEL: Look I was thinking – and I think everyone has realised here that the husband is, in fact, Very Evil as I deduced from the moment he flicked his lighter – that there WOULD be a plot twist. Which there was (more on that later) but not as good as “nice toy-buying detective is actually stalky psychopath”.
LOUIE: Is everyone just incredibly shit at their job in this world too? There was an actual investigator there and still, somehow, Jen managed to just straight-up walk out of the hospital with a guy who has shown no hard evidence that they were married. Unless we count the photos he conveniently whips out but still, why were people not more suspicious??! “Alright off you go with the man you don’t recognise byeeeeee”
MEL: OMFGGGGG. Lets discuss the photos immediately.
MEL: What is this photoshop job.
LOUIS: Ooft I forgot he was so thotty, I reckon I’d believe I was married to him in a heartbeat too. But suuuuuuuch shit photoshopping.
MEL: So at this point I thought the producers had just done a horrific job of photoshop, and this was in fact a pic from Brenda Song’s wedding where they’d just shoved the actor’s face over her IRL husbands. But no – look I think we can just give away the plot twist here – her husband is actually a Bad Guy Fake Husband, and he has done this godawful photoshopping, in fact. Also why did we get a 40 year house tour? I don’t think I needed slow real estate footage of the kitchen, for example.
LOUIE: I reckon the producers were just stoked they could lock in such a beautiful house and thought “Look, we can trick viewers into thinking we had a budget bigger than 20 bucks if we just show off this expensive-ass house for two hours.”
MEL: Hard agree. We were definitely made aware every 5 minutes that yes, this is a fuck-off amazing house. So from here, Jen’s getting a little suss. And keeps hovering near the stairs and then painfully walking down them. As my sister said when we were watching it, “why doesn’t she just go down on her butt? It’s so simple?”
LOUIS: Or hop!? This is where I started to get really fucking frustrated. Like yes maybe you have amnesia but did you also just completely lose all common sense? STOP WALKING ON YOUR MANGLED FOOT JEN FFS.
MEL: Yes!! Like there were so many other options for getting around besides placing weight on this bung foot she had. I did not need to see her painfully hobbling as much as I did. Now, shall we discuss Evil Husband in the yard at 3am? Because what the living shit was all of that.
LOUIE: My favourite line in the entire movie is when Jen shouts “Russell! There’s someone in our yard!” before realising it was actually Russell (Bad Guy) in the yard digging a literal grave at 3am and she’s just like ‘hmmm seems suss but I’m sleepy deepy so imma just leave it.”
MEL: “Oh there he is, suspiciously digging in our yard in the darkness. No matter though, I’m sure he’s just gardening.”
LOUIE: I actually thought that would’ve been enough to prompt Jen to do some more sleuthing but then he fkn whips out homemade orange juice and all is forgiven. Yess sure Jen, sit there drinking your orange juice while you stare at the grave but definitely don’t hobble on over there with your manky foot and do some digging. Everything will be fine.
MEL: YES what the fuck was that? She was hyper suss and then he’s all “OJ?” and she goes “fresh squeezed??” and he’s like “haha, of course!” and it’s all g in the house? Jen, Russell knowing your juice order does not NOT make him a serial killer.
Also – she doesn’t recognise her husband AND he’s being suss in the yard at odd hours, not to mention she’s trying to snoop in his computer at this point… but she’s cool starting to have sex with this guy?
MEL: Actually scratch that… HARD SAME BC HE’S SO HOT.
LOUIE: Yeah look I’d be lying if I said that wouldn’t be the first thing I’d do so I can’t judge Brenda for that but yeah I’d definitely want to check to see what dead guy’s in his backyard before we had sex. Also are we just going to gloss over the fact that she guessed his computer password – her name – on the FIRST FUCKING GO? That was the most unbelievable part of the entire movie.
MEL: Omg yes that was ridiculous. This guy is a FAKE HUSBAND, why would he have such a simple password? Another technology LOL – how her phone had this giant NO SERVICE sign on it just to hit home that she has no reception.
LOUIE: So I feel like the pacing speeds up a bit from here.
MEL: Yes – finally the shit detective decides to match Brenda’s ass tatt (amazing btw) at the tattoo shop. And they tell him that specific “A” stands for “Allen” – Brenda’s maiden name. V. weird that he had a whole book of specific A’s for last names, but I wasn’t entirely paying attention at this point. Maybe he was a last-names-tatooer only! I wouldn’t know! I was getting a toastie ready!
LOUIE: Okay I think we both tuned out at the same point because I do not remember the tattoo parlour scene at all.
MEL: Legit he just goes in, and is like DID YOU DO THIS TATT, and the tatt man is like yes and opens this huge book, finds the exact same tatt, and says it stands for Allen? What?
MEL: So from here, we have the detective going to Jen’s actual home – well, her childhood home where her parents live…
LOUIE: I still struggle to believe that he wouldn’t have access to this information earlier, like he’s a fucking cop surely you can just whack some buttons and find out family history in 2.5 seconds. But, as a Not Cop, I can’t be too sure so I’m willing to let that one slide. What did you make of the whole childhood home scene?
MEL: Omg I did NOT expect to see fucking DECAYING BODIES on my hungover Sunday afternoon is what I made of it.
LOUIE: Nothing like a good decaying body to make you hate everything. I was straight-up ready to yeet my tv out the window but I’d come this far so I had to push on.
MEL: So obviously here is where Detective Guy is super suss and knows something’s up. He calls the hospital again and gets the same fucking nurse who seems to work all shifts. She was there when Jen was brought in. There when Detective called initially and fucking miracles – she’s there again. Did you think she was also evil or was that just me?
LOUIE: I honestly didn’t get evil vibes from her but my intuition is pretty cooked, I’ve probs dated a serial killer and been none the wiser.
MEL: Yeah I mean you didn’t even realise Fake Husband was bad until he literally smashed a dudes skull in, so…
LOUIE: And even then I was like “well okay let’s just see how this pans out, who hasn’t accidentally crushed a skull or two in their day.”
MEL: LOL. Ok so now we’ve got the big reveal – Russell and Jen worked together, Russell is not Russell, he’s some creepy colleague of theirs called Ryan and he’s photoshopped his face in all the happy pics. The Detective realises this at the same time as Jen, who has found a secret stash of pics on the computer.
LOUIE: Was it just me or did she *still* seem to not be entirely convinced he was Satan even when he was fucking TYING HER TO THE BED.
She’s like “ummm Russell, what you doin I kinda don’t want you to tie my manky leg to the bed but u do u.”
MEL; Absolutely yes – also he has literally hit her over the head with a rock or something, and he’s shoving a sleeping tablet in her mouth and she’s like “noooo” but also swallows it?
LOUIE: Has she not seen any prison movie/shows? Everyone knows you can just slip that bad boy under your tongue and stockpile them to trade for cigarettes later on. Silly Jen.
MEL: More content I didn’t need etched into my brain – Jen trying to wrench her manky foot through the chains.
LOUIE: OKAY YES LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS. I don’t think that’s how the body works. What so she broke her angle again and that somehow managed to loosen the ropes? What the flying fuck was that?
MEL: It absolutely is NOT how the body works, fact.
LOUIE: For a sec I was reeeealllyyy scared it was gonna be a Gerald’s Game sitch and she’d have to skin her foot to slide it out, my butthole was all the way clenched.
MEL: Also it just really looks like a little manoeuvring and she could have easily unwound it?
LOUIE: Exactly, I mean surely she could’ve tried a few other options before she willingly fucked up her foot (again).
MEL: Also obsessed with how she AGAIN stomps on her manky foot to get down the stairs (why? literally so many other options) and then spends a solid ten minutes wrapping it in gaffer tape? Like honey you need to get OUT. No time for wrapping up fucked ankles.
LOUIE: Oh my god that gaffer job was atrocious, I mean I haven’t had to strap many ankles in my life but that DIY job was all over the place. If she was willing to stay in the house for an additional 10 minutes then surely she could’ve just whipped up a youtube tutorial on the comp. She seemed to think she had all day I was like MOVE YOUR DAMN ASS.
MEL: Actual enjoyable scene – when Jen makes it to the garage, can’t find the car keys and then the GARAGE DOOR OPENS so she has to hide in the back!
LOUIE: I’m such a sucker for those types of scenes. Luckily he was too busy getting ready to dissolve some deadbois in lyme to not see her chilling in the back like a sitting duck.
MEL: Yeah, a dead husband in decay state – I just did not need this much bodily decay in my melodramatic Sunday film.
LOUIE: Refresh my memory, how does she get out of the car sitch? That part’s foggy for me.
MEL: It’s another ridiculous moment – she clambers out and runs through the house on the extra-manky foot, somehow making it back to the bedroom before Fake Russell can. The disbelief I had to suspend – astounding amounts.
LOUIE: Oh that’s right!
MEL: Meanwhile – Detective has finally done his job and arrived at their place, but is quickly bonked on the head. Then we have THIS scene, which was really confusing for me because Fake Russell is breaking Jen’s foot AGAIN… but it also looks like a sort of BDSM moment and god DAMN he’s such a hot murderer.
LOUIE: Call me old fashioned but I was raised to not like, break the foot of people I’m in love with three times. Why does the movie hate Brenda’s foot so much? Hasn’t it been through enough? Also I wish I could say I expected more of Detective but I had no faith that he’d rock up and immediately save the day. Of course he got his noggin bonked.
MEL: It was not shocking. Also not shocking – the moment Jen gets another chance at possible escape, she instead watches a lengthy romantic video on her dead (real) husband’s phone.
LOUIE: How long do you have to be held captive before you develop some sort of Stockholm Syndrome? Because it felt like ol’ mate Brenda got it in like .05 seconds and was torn between not dying but also wanting to stay in the fancy house with the fancy things.
MEL: I liked the house and the fancy things and the hot murderer, so I feel her on a deep level
It was confusing though because she kept making really irrational decisions that – oops! – caused her to be captured again but then also escaping whenever she got the chance. I could not read her brain.
LOUIE: I don’t even think Jen could read Jen’s brain tbf.
MEL: Big yes to that. Anyway TL:DR vibes, but she escapes FINALLY and hobbles into the woods. Again – on the manky fucking foot.
LOUIE: My lord, RIP foot. And stay out of the fucking woods Brenda what is wrong with you.
MEL: Right!? STRAIGHT into the suss woods.
LOUIE: I’m scared Brenda’s got permanent wrinkles from all of that wincing she’s had to do
Two hours of straight up wince-face.
MEL: MW how fucking SEXUAL does our murderous Fake Husband look stalking Jen in the woods.
LOUIE: Oh my god I know! It’d take everything in my power to not just run out of my hiding spot and straight into his arms.
MEL: At this point I felt like Jen, babe, your foot if four-times-over fucked up and the Detective is maybe dead. Just accept your fate and marry your evil fake husband again, you know? At least he’s hot.
LOUIE: To end up with an average looking person who treats you well or a thottie who wants to kill you? It’s definitely a tricky conundrum.
MEL: The ultimate debate. So in the end the Detective is alive, he and Fake Husband get into a tussle, and Jen shoots her fake hubby dead. RIP that chiselled jaw. And that is… literally the end of the film? Like we get a bit of a moving scene and suddenly she’s besties with this detective she met for 0.002 seconds, and she reads some cute letter her actual husband wrote for her. But IDK, felt like a let down.
LOUIE: I was thinking about this, like obviously the Bad Guy was always gonna die but I was expecting a much more dramah-filled ending to go with the rest of the dramah-filled movie. A simple gunshot in the woods? C’mon, they could’ve gone wayyyy bigger and wayyyyy dumber.
MEL: Here’s what I envisioned – pushing him over the balcony or down the stairs, and then that giant chandelier falls onto him, impaling him in several places.
LOUIE: I woulda loved to see her shoot him in the dick tbh.
MEL: Or yes, the dick.
LOUIE: We could do a bit of a mash here – the chandelier falls on him and impales his dick. Why they didn’t come to us to write the ending I’ll never know.
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