The 80s are in, all of it: music, for some reason fashion, current events, and movies. We have seen a surge in homage to the horror films of the 80’s, with films like Turbo Kid, It Follows and The Guest, but now filmmakers are looking to the other iconic 80’s film genres for inspiration. The “Domestic Thriller” is one such genre, with the likes of Fatal Attraction and its now infamous bunny boiling scene, as well as the term bunny boiler being absorbed into the cultural mainstream. Unforgettable, the new film starring Rom-Com Queen Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson, certainly isn’t the first of this breed of thrillers, with Gone Girl from a few years ago, and last years adaptation of The Girl on the Train, but with some illustrious company like that does Unforgettable stand up to the comparison?
Julia Banks is engaged to David Conover, handsome brewer man extraordinaire. Like most people, he has some baggage, namely a child, Lily and an ex-wife, the stern, particular and possibly a little obsessive Tessa.
Unforgettable is not forgettable enough for me to crack that slightly stale joke, but it is definitely bad. It is really a shame to see the talented Rosario Dawson, from Marvel’s Netflix shows (yes that’s right she is in all of them) spew the swill that this movie calls dialogue. You watch Dawson as Julia Banks slowly descend into paranoia and depression and in any other film, this would have worked phenomenally, if they had got a decent actor to play Tessa and if they had a decent screenwriter to pen some believable and tense scenarios. As it is Unforgettable has dumb characters doing dumb things for dumb reasons.
Unforgettable has a story that is as subtle as a hammer to the face. It is clear that Unforgettable is trying to go for a tone and style similar to Fatal Attraction. However, while films like that have a slow build to the reveal that the antagonist is psychotic, in Unforgettable right from the off-set Katherine Heigl plays Tessa so suspiciously that it is a wonder that the other characters have any trouble believing she is dangerous.
Here we reach the rub, Unforgettable has a major tonal problem. Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson are operating in two entierly different films. Heigl is trying to achieve high camp, and somewhat succeeding in an incredibly bland way, while Dawson is taking it very seriously. While Unforgettable could have succeeded in doing one, because it tried to do both simultaneously it falls flat on its face. It would have worked a lot better if they had plotted it a lot more subtly, that would have made the gaslighting feel tenser and the final reveal about Tessa’s mental state all the more surprising.
So Unforgettable has one good performance, one distracting one. It has a story that clunks along like a car with square wheels. It has some rather antiquated gender politics and its aesthetics scream made for TV movie. It’s not good, at all, and I am hoping that I forget about it soon. I was embarrassed by it. It should be something that at least one of its stars should regret, despite trying so hard.
You can watch Unforgettable in cinemas now