Why Obsession Movies Don’t Exist Anymore


Fatal attraction set the standard for what obsession movies should be. A sensual pot that highlights the slow evolution of a woman who slowly loses her mind for a man she thought she loved. It’s often considered one of the best obsession films ever made, although there were a few that topped the quality of the 1973 thriller. One of those rare ones is actually Misery, which is considered one of Stephen King’s best film adaptations. After a serious car accident, the former nurse takes in a popular novelist. What at first seems like Annie is helping take care of Paul Sheldon, her obsession with Paul’s work takes a dark turn when she discovers her favorite character is being killed off.

The Stephen King adaptation won Katy Bathes the Best Actress Oscar, making her the only actress to win an Oscar based on a Stephen King novel. Other notable obsession films are Fear, sleep with the enemy, Cape Fear, and One hour photo. There have been many other obsessive genre films that have been released theatrically; however, after the failure of The boy next door there just hasn’t been much to talk about lately. Why? Well, let’s start by eliminating the most obvious, the specialist genre doesn’t exactly light up the box office. There have been a few films that have surpassed the $100 million mark (Sleep with the enemy, Cape Fear); however, nothing came close to hitting the $500 million mark. The thing is, Obsession movies aren’t even as expensive as Marvel or DC movies, so that’s not the case, especially the fact that they don’t make that kind of money. However, if they were, you would surely see more of these types of films. However, Netflix’s popular You shows that there is an audience that loves this juicy content.

Another key factor is the abysmal critic responses to most of these obsessional films. Each film is made with the intention of recouping their financial investment; however, some films are also made in hopes of being recognized by the Oscars or Golden Globes. More often than not, obsession movies have been trashed by critics. The main source of problems with obsessive films is that they haven’t evolved much after the 90s. The popular pattern for these films is Fatal attractionthe most recent being The Boy Next Door, When the Branch Breaks, Swimfanand Obsessed. Unfortunately, the model for the 1973 thriller seems based on bluff notes instead of comparing why that movie was so great. Too often, obsession movies tend to care only about the movie’s crazy antics, ignoring the slow building that allows for character development.

Alex wasn’t a crackpot from the start. His character developed to the point of becoming the obsessed monster of the third act. Obviously, the point of an obsessive movie is to watch when all hell breaks loose, but when it features a cast of characters that audiences laugh at, the journey to get there is often bland and forgettable. There must be an evolution away from the Fatal attraction formula. It’s a great movie, but it’s not Godfather. The predictability of these films has dampened audiences’ enthusiasm to sell money to see more, as we understand what the end result will be. The story beats will unfold in an expected way, as they follow a certain largely outdated pattern. Given the social media/digital age, the fact that more movies haven’t focused on stalking/obsession in the modern age is truly shocking, as there is strong potential to resonate with a new demographic group able to identify with modern times. Fans just want a fun movie to watch. It doesn’t have to be a picture of an Oscar like Misery or Cape Fear. Of course, films in general are not necessarily easy to make; however, obsession movies like these often feel like an experiment made for a little money, not value entertainment.

They’re just not a flagship that the general public is dying for. It has nothing to do with the popularity of comic book movies, as the target demographics for these two genres are very different. In fact, it would actually be a great counterbalance for female audiences who aren’t particularly interested in Batman’s 100th Adventure. Until the quality of obsessive genre films escalates, it will still be seen as nothing more than a film that audiences might expect on television to see.


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