Mark (Maxime Normandin) is more than a little annoyed with his mistress Michelle’s escalating intrusions into his family life. Seeing his affair as a mistake, Mark breaks it off with Michelle (Natalie Plouffe). Unfortunately for Mark, and his wife and daughter, Michelle is not the type of person to just go away quietly and, as they say, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
Maxime Normandin’s The Rivalry is a quality psycho thriller in the vein of a modern Fatal Attraction. It goes gruesome, but manages to do most of its dirty work in your imagination; this isn’t a gorefest or torture porn adventure, but its lead psychopath is certainly unhinged.
The film does go on for too long. I understand why the filmmakers chose to draw out certain sequences in the hopes of building suspense, and in many cases it works, but there is also something to be said for pushing the pace even more than is done here. The film is also fond of cutting to black to break up scenes. Instead of acting as a proper scene transition, however, it feels like a film interruption. That said, considering its usage, I’m not sure there is a better option.
Overall, though, I think The Rivalry gives a good psycho thriller showing. Despite knowing the various stereotypes and tropes, you’re never entirely sure how the film is going to play with them, or what direction it wants to ultimately take. There’s as much a tamer version of this tale as there is a horribly mean-spirited one. I think the filmmakers found a nice balance, and presented something fun to get the heartbeat going.
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