Lust. Betrayal. Revenge. Greed. Murder. Somehow, all of these things become dull in the preposterous and yet decidedly un-fascinating “Fascination,” a movie that plays as though the script was being made up on the spot. By aliens not quite familiar with human beings or the English language but who had seen a couple of Ed Wood movies.
Wealthy Patrick Doherty (James Naughton), a former Olympic swimmer, is killed in a swimming accident. His widow, Maureen (Jaqueline Bisset), comes back from a post-funeral cruise with a new boyfriend and marries him a week later. Her son, Scott (Adam Garcia) finds this at first unsettling and then suspicious. But his attempts to investigate the possibility that Maureen and her new husband, Oliver (Stuart Wilson), may have murdered Patrick are sidetracked by his attraction to Oliver’s daughter Kelly (Alice Evans), who slinks around looking femme fatale-ish in a series of the most hideously fluttering little outfits ever worn in a movie.
The set-up is not so bad. At least it wasn’t the last time I took a look at, what was that again — oh, yes, Hamlet. But the stunning incompetence of every single aspect of this movie makes it such a thudding bore that it does not even rise to the level of being laughable. That’s despite howler plot turns that include a do-it-yourself exhumation, a character who appears to be turned on by bloody wounds, a character who has some weird unexplained throat injury (an indicator that the film was rechopped at some point, giving rise to the concern that there may be an even worse version out there) and another man with a bloody wound who can somehow wake up on sheets as pristine as though they came from a commercial for laundry detergent. Badly written, poorly acted, horrendously edited, dreadfully directed, the only thing worth watching in this movie is the still-lovely Bisset and some nice location photography.
Parents should know that this movie includes explicit sexual references and situations, including some with incestuous overtones. Characters drink and smoke and use very strong language. There are several violent situations and characters are killed.
Families who see this movie should talk about the difficulty Scott and his mother had in trying to communicate with each other.
Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the overheated Hush with Jessica Lange and Gwenyth Paltrow and better movies like Body Heat and The Postman Always Rings Twice.