Erotic Underground: Fatal Attraction (Limited Series)


All Images Courtesy of Paramount+

Adrian Lyne's seminal feature Fatal Attraction changed the game on numerous levels.  Besides being an essential part of the Erotic Thriller genre, the film sparked intense conversations about gender dynamics, sexual politics, and its original, controversial ending being changed forever altered the landscape as Glenn Close's legendary performance was seared into the American mind's eye of repressed sexuality while simultaneously opening the floodgates for every single Shannon Tweed potboiler to come.   

Alexandra Cunningham and Michael Hynes' modern reimagining takes an interesting approach to the iconic story and presents it as a slow burn mystery over the course of eight episodes.  Featuring an extremely talented cast, interesting twists and turns, and a progressive approach to the material, this is one of the year's best surprises.  While there are flaws throughout, the journey is presented as an addictive story of deceit, lust, betrayal, and murder.   The story begins almost right after the ending of the original film, with some important changes, the biggest of which is Dan Gallagher is being paroled after fifteen years of incarceration for Alex's murder.  Once released he dedicates his new found freedom towards finding the person who may or may not have framed him.  

Fatal Attraction is almost an anti-noir.  While the original was a cigarette laced secret tryst between lovers in shadowed corridors, the modern series is cast within a sunshine soaked world of privilege.  Dan's career was less important in the film, as it focused more on the initial affair and then the aftermath.  The series does both, using a flashback and flashforward technique that not only shows how the relationship developed but also how perception is important in deciphering various clues about the dark deeds done throughout.  Ultimately, the scripts write themselves into a corner and the mystery's revelation will either attract or repulse, but beyond the divisive ending is a refreshingly sexy update to the classic. 

Lizzy Caplan steals the limelight as Alex.  While this embodiment focuses more on mental health and the concept of justice in a post-Metoo world, Caplan devours the material, drawing the viewer to her with ease.  Her chemistry with Joshua Jackson's Dan is steamy to the point of almost jumping off the screen.  An interesting choice is that Alex and Dan's relationship is a lot more dramatic than spur of the moment, albeit due to dubious influences, but the sex scenes are both natural and clumsy while also being memorable due to both the commitment of the principles and how natural they appear together. 

Now streaming via any apps with Paramount+, Fatal Attraction is a solid update to the original film with an interesting approach and deeply strong performances.  The fatal flaw is in the ending, both with lazy reveals and an oddly placed cliffhanger, but the journey is more than worth it. Perhaps the strongest aspect of this reimagining is that it shows with a dedicated cast and talented crew, eventually the studio system will recreate a beloved work into something even more renowned.  While this is not that, it shows promise for the future. 

--Kyle Jonathan