Secret Obsession tells the kind of horrifying story that would make for a compelling true crime podcast: Brenda Song plays Jennifer, a woman who wakes up after a mysterious attack with amnesia so severe that she can't even recognize her own husband, Russell (Mike Vogel). Russell whisks her away to a secluded mansion to recover, but it soon becomes clear something isn't quite right about him. It has the makings of a brand new Dirty John, but is Secret Obsession based on a true story?
Thankfully, it doesn't seem to be. There's no indication that real events served as the inspiration for this movie, which is especially reassuring the more you learn about it. Poor Jennifer is stuck in a strange house in the middle of nowhere with a man who may or may not be who he says he is. When it premieres on Netflix on Jul. 18, you can settle in for all the twists and turns with the reassurance that the entire thing is fictional. But you may have guessed that already, because it sounds more like a Lifetime movie than a ripped-from-the-headlines story. Truth can sometimes be stranger than fiction, but that's not the case here.
The trailer gives a thorough rundown of all the trials Jennifer will have to endure. There's the sense that something's off from the very first minute, because ominous music swells as Russell enters Jennifer's hospital room to tell her what happened. She's all bandaged up and bruised, with a broken leg in a sling. Russell informs her that she was in an accident, but a black and white flashback shows a car purposefully hitting her in the middle of a rainstorm. Someone was definitely targeting Jennifer.
Despite the fact that Jennifer was attacked and has no memory of the man sitting by her bed, she's packaged off with him like Goldie Hawn in Overboard. Have fun with that stranger, Jen! Russell takes her to an opulent vacation home in the middle of the woods, where they have a brief romantic montage: Russell carries her up the stairs and they have candlelit dinners. But when Detective Frank Page (Dennis Haysbert) calls with a request for Jennifer to come down to the police station, the tension rackets up a notch.
Russell outright lies to Jennifer when she asks about the phone call with Detective Page, claiming it was just a work call. Then she sees a mysterious person digging in their garden who turns out to be — you guessed it — Russell. Husband-with-secrets is a reliable trope for domestic thrillers, and Lifetime utilizes it almost as much as evil nannies who try to infiltrate your life and steal your children.
The trailer reveals more about the depths of Russell's Secret Obsession, but suffice it to say, it goes deep. Jennifer will have to find a way to escape his clutches unscathed as she tries to get to the bottom of what happened to her. Audiences will have to watch to find out how it all turns out, because there's no real story to refer to for answers.