Netflix's 'Secret Obsession' puts Brenda Song in a situation she has no idea how to handle, and we wish she did
Netflix's 'Secret Obsession' begins with Brenda Song's Jennifer Williams being brutally attacked at a rest stop. A newly married woman, Jennifer is running from a white man and almost manages to escape before a car knocks her out. Once in hospital, it is revealed that Jennifer can no longer remember her past, including the events of the night of the accident.
This reveal is cute given how all of this was literally told to the audience in the trailer released by Netflix just days before the release of the film.
At the hospital, as Jennifer recuperates from the accident, we are introduced to her husband, Russell (played by Mike Vogel). The audience already knows this guy is shady. Russell is just thankful his wife is alive and is eager to get her home – a secluded mountain estate the couple calls home.
Together, they try to rebuild their life together – Jennifer learns to do everyday things once again with the help of her husband — they spend time together, but something feels amiss. She doesn't feel a connection with Vogel's Russell. One night, they also have a little disagreement because Russell demands they have physical intimacy, but even his touch gives her terrifying flashbacks from a night she can't remember.
At the same time, far away from the couple is Detective Page (Dennis Haysbert) who is pursuing Jennifer's assailant and is determined to put him behind bars. Not a surprise since his own daughter went missing and was never found. So typical to incorporate a detective who has that big unsolved mystery in his own life.
A 'The Suite Life of Zack & Cody' alumnus, Song attempts to shed a lot of her posh London Tipton, but it's just not enough. The little terrorizing factor associated with 'Secret Obsession' also comes from your fear of the events, for yourself. You can't feel for Jennifer because you know the direction the movie is taking.
Mike Vogel, on the other hand, is a really incompetent stalker and sociopath. He photoshops himself in old photos of Jennifer and (the real) Russell but doesn't make it foolproof. Passion overtaking him, he goes to capture (or kill, we really didn't know what his plan of action was the night he attacked Jennifer – did he want to kill her, rape her? Because he killed her husband). He also has zero terrorizing qualities. The trailer actually did him a favor by revealing to the audience that he was the bad guy, or else Vogel's Russell is a vague representation.
The thriller, despite the obvious plot, makes for a decent watch. So much information about the movie is already out there, which doesn't make the ending disappointing at all – you knew what was going to happen – you're just relieved that it worked out. You'd watch it once and definitely not the second time around, not even if you are Brenda Song fan.
For 97 minutes, the movie runs 30 minutes longer than we'd have liked. To be fair, there is little to dislike about the psychological thriller directed by Peter Sullivan and written by Sullivan and Kraig Wenman, except for its stereotypical characters, its redundant plot line and a very predictable ending. At least it ends.
The movie is now streaming on Netflix.