Here’s a thriller that begins badly, descends into dull and rallies for a third act filled with “You’re kidding, right?”
In “Deviant Love,” “Walking Dead” and “Dallas” reboot Emma Bell stars as a woman haunted by her childhood, rejected by her husband and vulnerable to Mr. Wrong, whose beady-eyed intensity she confuses for…love?
The onetime Miss Northern California returns to her hometown and her parents’ home when she finds her her husband’s been cheating.
She has a tweenage son in tow, and is doing “all right, for a scorned woman.”
No worries. She’s got her parents (Gail O’Grady, Corbin Timbrook) for support, and sister Casey (Kate Miner) has her back.
Only her dad’s making noises about “forgiving” the cheating spouse. Mom might be wavering, too.
Then, she stumbles into this fellow Whit (Nick Ballard of TV’s “The Haves and the Have Nots”), not once, but twice.
She’s only separated, but he’s charming. Heck, who wouldn’t enjoy swimming-through-piranhas first date dinner conversation?
Sending their glasses back to the kitchen, hoping they’ll be returned “washed, this time?” That’s a little nutty.
Dad’s “I don’t like him” falls on deaf ears, because Dad’s got no credibility in this matter, after sticking up for prickly soon-to-be-ex Rick (Robert Adamson).
The film’s weird prologue has given away the game. Not that we care. “Deviant Love” — it HAS to be trending because of that sexy lie of a title — is meant to be a picture where we’re two steps ahead of the heroine in jeopardy.
That almost never works. And it doesn’t here. The players can’t make the “surprises” surprising, suspense never enters the picture and the climax isn’t worthy of the use of the word in this context.
So it’s a big ol’raspberry for actress-turned-screenwriter Leah McKendrick and veteran TV movie director (“Munchausen by Internet” is an upcoming credit) Michael Feifer. They had a title here, and nothing more.
MPAA Rating: TV-14:
Cast: Emma Bell, Nick Ballard
Credits: Directed by Michael Feifer, script by Leah McKendrick. A Marvista/Netflix release.
Running time: 1:27