The unintentionally funny cesspool of basic cable made for TV melodramas should be a fertile ground to mine. In recent years, channels like Oxygen, Lifetime, and OWN have became the menopausal analog to SyFy channel cheese except instead of pitting Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus, they deal in terror invading white suburbia. Movies with steamy titles such as “Deadly Honeymoon”, “Stranger In My Bed”, and “Student Seduction”. Director Adam Theroux takes aim on the niche genre with his short film “The Final Obsession”.
It’s difficult to categorize “The Final Obsession”. It is a tonally odd mix of equal parts comedy, satire, thriller, and relationship drama. Rebecca Hughes (Wensday Greenbaum) is an actress who stars in movies on the “Lifelong TV” channel unaware that her husband Rhyce (Alexander Platt) is carrying on an affair with her friend. We meet them as they celebrate the premiere of her latest film “The Wrong Reasons”. Also eagerly watching is Jacoby (Dan White), an obsessive fan who spends his days scrutinizing her movies and cutting out magazine photos of her while listening to opera music. Rebecca is a perfectly fine albeit milquetoast character but the male characters are broadly drawn villainous caricatures. Her husband mocks her inability to detect his infidelity while in bed with his mistress and later cavalierly mentions her miscarriage as the best thing to happen to their marriage. Jacoby, complete with pedophile glasses and mustache, comes across as a dollar store version of the antagonist of “The Human Centipede 2”. He fantasizes about Rebecca and soon is no longer satisfied just watching her on his television.
Peppered throughout “The Final Obsession” are clips from Rebecca’s movies. It would seem as if the impetus to make this film was the chance to lampoon the abundance of made for cable schlock. The best of these parodies is “Seductive Teacher” in which Rebecca plays a teacher aggressively pressuring a squirming yet fully bearded teen student. However, the fatal flaw with “The Final Obsession” is that the cinematography and acting in the main film isn’t any better than the made for TV movies it looks down upon. There just isn’t a significant enough shift in style to make these sequences pop.
The disintegrating marriage subplot could have been an interesting catalyst to drive Rebecca into the arms of a stranger who just happened to be an crazed fan. But because the audience is fully aware of his intentions when he is introduced, there is no mystery, subtlety, or chance for suspense. At 21 minutes long (with credits), the whole thing plays like the rushed third act of a longer film.