'Obsession: Her Final Vengeance' Review: Lifetime thrillogy's final installment peaks with sinister sister Lisa
Spoilers for 'Obsession: Her Final Vengeance'
Lifetime can get a little tedious and very predictable with its thrillers. There's only so much one can explore when it comes to jilted lovers and stalkers of every possible kind. But add a grieving sister whose vengeance knows no limits to the mix and the consequences are a vicious psychopath called Lisa in the 'Obsession' thrillogy's final installment who can leave you disturbed with her menacing smirks and preposterous evil ways to avenge her equally psychotic brother's death. Titled 'Her Final Vengeance', the third part of Madison Turner's (Celeste Desjardins) gritty encounter with roommate-turned-lover-turned-kidnapper Blake Collins (Trevor Nelson) puts the villainous spotlight on his sister Lisa, played by Anastasia Phillips whose riveting performance leaves more than just our naive protagonist rattled in a sub-par script.
The story kicks off with just how threatening Lisa can be and Phillips does not wait around to ground her sinister character's vengeful nature. The opening scene of the plot sees Lisa attack a man and burn his house down for calling her dead crook of a brother a 'psycho'. Not just that, Lisa even faked a pregnancy to trick him into marrying her so she could get her name on the house and be his legal heir. Your regular vengeful psycho from slasher thrillers would probably keep killing those around their victim one by one to make them suffer immense loss before taking their life, but Lisa is generous that way. She takes time and goes into great lengths to research first, and befriend heer target in signature stalker style, but she doesn't plan on doing the dirty job herself.
Having been locked up in a psychiatric facility for the longest time, Lisa - pretending to be Courtney - takes up an internship at a mental hospital where they keep three beds open for emergency at all times. Lisa weasels in as a resident nurse, faking her past credentials like most killed psychopaths who are extremely competent at what they do - thereby conning not just her target, but almost the entire town with her extremely calculated deceit. To Madison, 'Courtney' is a trauma survivor group companion, sickeningly sweet and enough overbearing to make a toddler claustrophobic, but of course, Madison continues to be on her oblivious strain.
That Madison is moving on with her life with occasional anxiety that she has to be on medication for, is something Lisa can't handle. How dare the victim get to live after killing her kidnapper! So Lisa orchestrates the perfect revenge plan by befriending a violently bipolar patient in the hospital, replacing Madison's Benzolene pills with Dilactive that gives her lethargy and memory loss, and even attacking the new guy her brother's victim starts going out with. With each step, Lisa gets more and more sinister, incapacitating Madison in every way possible and Phillips is remarkable every step of the way. More than Lisa understanding the patient she wants to manipulate into attacking Madison, Phillips understands her character and plays her with such measured precision that its difficult to not get disturbed by her.
Curtis Crawford's direction makes the third part a sheer improvement from its initial stories. It's hard to believe this is a part of the same thrillogy. The placid smile plastered on Lisa's face is reminiscent of Pennywise's menacing grin, and if one can look past the extremely predictable dialogues and Desjardins, as usual, being unnecessarily more seductive and dramatic than the script calls for, it's not too hard a film to digest.
There's a subtle commentary on a trauma survivor processing and overcoming what's been done to them and Madison's arc is supposed to be an inspiring story of helping others navigate the same journey that she has been through thrice. If not for anything else, the movie is a brilliant quarantine watch purely because of Lisa and her very, very well thought out plan. The way she kidnaps Madison, fakes her suicide attempt, gets her admitted to the hospital and manipulates the bipolar patient to kill her is some seasoned crimelord level of expertise. And for that we have writer Melissa Cassera to thank.
'Obsession: Her Final Vengeance' will premiere on July 12, at 8pm only on Lifetime network.