REVIEW: ‘Lethal Obsession’

Another cam model gets ready to eat it in "Lethal Obsession".
Another cam model gets ready to eat it in "Lethal Obsession".

More than a few months ago, I was discussing with the dearly departed (for the greener pastures of cable TV) Devin Pike an idea for a screenplay. We went through most of the beats for it, skipped a few but generally went through the whole of it over hot wings and beer. It would be a hard sci-fi actioner that could easily branch out into sequels. Nine to five would be a thing of the past for us.

Where’s that movie now?

With the exception of a couple of scenes, I tend to think it’s dragging it’s way through the tenebrous passages of my brain, one foot chewed off and with a really bad shoulder cramp, lost on its way to my fingers. They say that in Hollywood everybody has a script. In Dallas, there are at least two people. Do we have a movie? No. That gives the filmmakers behind “Lethal Obsession” a leg up on the rest of us.

“Lethal Obsession” is about a masked slasher who preys upon webcam models that all seem to be conveniently located in a Illinois college town. Enter detective Tony Bennett (Brad Mills) hot on the heels of a kabuki-faced killer. Is the killer webcam site owner, Elizabeth Waters (Kitsie Duncan) – who’s finding out that sex and death sells better than just sex alone — or could it be the remarkably fit, but dubiously twitchy, Reed Anthony (Austin Dossey). Inquiring minds want to know.

“Obsession” represents the inaugural offering from DarkRider Studios (described on their website as a “full service media production and marketing company”). A cursory glance of the crew list reveals that, like most nano-studio efforts it was produced, directed and acted almost completely in house. Taking these things into consideration, you really have to shift your brain into a different gear when watching it. You can’t watch it in the same way that you might want to watch some slick big studio thriller that has a budget in the millions. Once you do that, you’re ready to watch.

So what did I find?

I found that “Obsession” is something like an old school 80’s slasher. You have your masked killer. You have scantily clad women. You have some vaguely implausible situations. Gore? The gore is… interesting. For the most part they keep the practical effects pretty simple – and thank the gods there are no GG effects – but, one, thanks to my unreasonable fear of cheese-graters was pretty effective, even if it was mostly implied.

The cast does a mostly serviceable job and by serviceable job I mean that there wasn’t anybody that I actively wanted to kill for delivering their lines poorly. The script… the script could have used a little work. There seemed to be lots of story-telling without character development. I would have liked to have known a little more about the characters, which instead felt a little two-dimensional for my tastes.

“Lethal Obsession” is a respectable first outing for the folks at Darkrider. Though it still proves you have to crawl before you can walk, they at least seem to be headed in the right direction. Time will tell.

Joe Lopez
Dubbed, "TerrorScribe" by a former editor, Joe made the conversion to horror sometime in the mid-2000s. Little did he know he'd favored the genre all of his life. When not struggling with short stories, he provided genre film reviews for local entertainment sites and later genre sites who could suffer his cynical views.

It was that same cynicism - and some might say hubris - that lead him to have a brief flirtation with filmmaking. His first two efforts, "Annotated" and "Antes Que Seja Tarde (Before It's Too Late)" both premiered at a local H.P. Lovecraft film festival. A third short, "Survivor Girl" proved to be his undoing though plans are in the works to revived the cursed project.

Born and raised in Dallas, TX., Joe now resides in a small Texas town. Statistics say more dead bodies turn up in small towns that big cities... though he claims to have NOTHING to do with that.
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