Obsession can be a dangerous trait as New York based architect Jeffrey is about to find, when his desire for relationship bliss with René sees him ignoring the 'he's no good for you' advice of best friend Nicki, even when he discovers that René already has a boyfriend of his own. Only Jeffrey is not content to give up on 'his man,' at least not yet, seizing the opportunity to take an apartment stalker-like in the same building where René lives, only to come more in contact with landlady Gladys, than the man himself. Yet Jeffrey is not the only one with an obsessive disorder, as Gladys is soon to develop an unhealthy fondness for her new tenant, cooking him meals together with providing Jeffrey with the keys to her downstairs apartment. Only what are those haunting sounds coming from down below? And why did the previous tenant leave so suddenly, one whose name just happens to be Geoffrey?
Laced with more nods and winks to Hitchcock than a tribute act, writer, producer and director Sam Zalutsky has taken all the stock thriller elements and carefully assembled them to deliver a chilling cat-and-mouse game. Thankfully he is backed by an atmospheric score from composer John Turner, together with the committed performances of Sherman Howard as the oddball mute handyman of the piece, Heather Alicia Simms as close friend Nicki and Daniel Sauli who as Jeffrey plays the gay role non-stereotypical style, in a work that refreshingly breaks free from the confines of the standard gay genre. Only here it is Patti D'Arbanville who steals the show; one moment extending the outstretched hand of friendship and the next relishing in the part of the landlady from hell.
Yes it's somewhat let down by an abrupt ending, with Duane Boutté (Bostonia of Stonewall fame) as the boyfriend of two-timing René (Julien Lucas) criminally underused. But that said, Zalutsky hits all the right notes to fine-tune a dark and suspenseful gay thriller, MISERY style and here cue the requisite innocent looking building, eccentric landlady, labyrinth of rooms and the ever-present basement cellar.
More homage than inventive, this nevertheless marks a work that makes fine use of its homosexual backbone to support all the twists of a plot that turns the search for love on its head, as the man with a compulsive longing for another, finds himself the unwelcome recipient of obsessive desire. In short, this is a well-crafted feature from a director
who has injected the gay narrative with a psychotic and frankly unnerving jab!
screened as part of the 22nd London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2008