Created as a 2023 reimagining of the 1987 film of the same name, Fatal Attraction has been developed by Alexandra Cunningham and Kevin J. Hyne. The cast is led by Joshua Jackson, who plays Dan Gallagher, the role first made famous by Michael Douglas. Also starring is Lizzy Caplan, who plays Glenn Close’s role as Alex Forrest, and Amanda Peet, who takes Anne Archer’s part of Beth Gallagher. Interestingly, diverting slightly away from the plot of the original movie, the series has a brand new character—Dan and Bath’s daughter, Ellen, which Alyssa Jirrels plays.
Much like the original, Fatal Attraction tells the story of an unhinged woman. Alex becomes obsessed and violent after her married lover tries to put an end to their affair. However, this version of the story splits between two different timelines. And this brings a refreshing spin to the familiar tale. The first timeline shows how the affair starts and quickly goes wrong. The second timeline, set 15 years later, sees Dan released from prison after he was convicted of Alex’s murder. Now released, he wants to unearth the truth of her murder, claiming he wasn’t responsible. But is he even telling the truth?
The eight-part erotic psychological thriller miniseries is a slow-burner. But it is far more enjoyable as a binge-watch than a weekly episode release. This is purely because each episode ends with a mini cliffhanger, and as the audience, you’ll be eager to start the next episode almost immediately. As there is much more story and content than there originally was in the film, Fatal Attraction works much better as a series than it would have done as a film.
With themes of betrayal, marriage, loyalty, friendship, and trust, the series heavily focuses on Beth’s strong ability to believe her cheating husband did not murder the woman he was having an affair with. The fantastic performance from the cast makes the aftermath of Dan and Alex’s affair even more hard-hitting. And these performance help audiences instantly relate to the tragic figures within the story. The strong writing makes you feel sorry for adulterer Dan and his scorned lover Alex.
Not every film or series should have a remake, as plenty can’t be recreated in a modern-day adaption. And while Fatal Attraction (the series) doesn’t get everything right, it’s thrilling. Alex’s downhill spiral to the guesswork of who is responsible for her death, or if she even is dead, keeps the audience eager to see what happens next. Setting it in the present day was a clever decision, and diverting from the 80s timeline helps Fatal Attraction leave a fresh mark.
Not only does the series play with the film’s story, but it also plays to the core fans who know about the film’s alternative ending, where Glenn Close’s Alex kills herself to frame Dan for her murder. It’s an excellent addition to the series that proves the showrunners did their homework while working on this adaptation. And even those with deep knowledge of the original film’s development will be unsure of where the series will take them next.
While each episode in Fatal Attraction is excellent, the series truly picks up speed from the fourth episode. This is when the series turns dark, and we see just how unhinged Alex truly is. When her true nature unravels, it becomes uncomfortable to watch her, made all the more effective by Lizzy Caplan’s performance.
The part of Fatal Attraction that will divide the audience is the ending. While it answers the main questions, it doesn’t leave you feeling fulfilled. It doesn’t finish in a nice little bow, nor is there a true sense of conclusion. Some may like it, as I did. But others, I suspect, may be wanting more once the final credits roll.
The first two episodes of Fatal Attraction will be available on Paramount Plus on April 30th, with new episodes streaming weekly.
The cast performance draws you in, but switching between two timelines and the murder mystery will make the audience want to stay.