Love Sick Love: Film Review

Love Sick Love Still - H 2013
This darkly comic horror tale strains too hard for both laughs and shocks.

This genre-bending, twisted comedy depicts a relationship gone very, very wrong.

Making Fatal Attraction seem like a feel-good Disney film, Love Sick Love lives up to its title in its depiction of the ill-fated relationship between a playboy business exec and the beautiful young woman who doesn’t take his rejection of her love lightly, to say the least. But while Adrian Lyne’s urban horror story became a sexual cautionary tale for an entire generation, this darkly comic effort is too trivial and exploitative to have a similar impact.

Despite the warnings of a concerned colleague (comedian Jim Gaffigan, wasted here), Norman (Matthew Settle) considers his relationship with the besotted Dori (Katia Winter, of Dexter) strictly casual. Nonetheless, he agrees to spend the weekend with her in a remote country house, a decision he will quickly come to regret.

Things start out well enough, with the two engaging in some torrid sex. But she doesn’t react at all well when he doesn’t return her declaration of love, and it only goes downhill from there. He soon discovers that they are not alone, with the sudden appearance of the children that he didn’t know she had —“What’s the deal with the kid?” he asks after spotting one of them playing outside—as well as her dotty parents (played in amusingly grotesque fashion by vets M. Emmet Walsh and Charlotte Rae).

Norman soon finds himself bound and gagged and forced by the twisted clan to participate in a bizarrely compressed celebration of a year’s worth of holidays including Valentine’s Day, Christmas and New Year’s Day as the film morphs from romantic comedy to psychological thriller to full-out bloody horror.

Director Christian Charles (Comedian) is unable to handle the ever-shifting tones of Ryan Oxford’s schematic screenplay, with the proceedings proving neither remotely convincing nor entertainingly outlandish. The strained results eventually prove wearisome, although the sexy Winter is effectively scary and at times even moving as the psycho femme fatale.

Opens April 19 (mouseROAR)

Cast: Matthew Settle, Katia Winter, M. Emmet Walsh, Charlotte Rae, Jim Gaffigan

Director: Christian Charles

Screenwriter: Ryan Oxford

Producers: Anne Estonilo, Christian Charles

Executive producers: Eric Matejevich, Lenny Beckerman

Director of photography: J.P. Lipa

Editor: Kyle Gilman

Costume designer: Claudine Arnow

Composer: John Swihart

Rated R, 84 min.