An Affair To Die For – review (Netflix)

Brief Synopsis: A doctor, Holly, is driving to a remote getaway. As she drives she speaks to her husband on the phone. She tells him that her conference is going on all weekend and she may not have good reception. He tells her he loves her and they end the call.

Holly gets to the hotel. They have a reservation for her with her under the name of Mrs Alan. They tell her that her husband has reserved a suite. When she gets to the suite, he is not there but he has left a message for her. He has planned a kinky game for them. She waits in bed blindfolded and handcuffed. Someone comes in and has sex with her. She screams at them to stop. The person walks away.

In the next room Everett, who Holly had been screaming for, is tied up. Holly’s husband, Russell, comes and unties him and tells him that his wife is not to leave the suite. He has Everett’s wife and daughter. Later, Russell calls his wife and tells her not to trust Everett. So begins a game of deception with no one sure who to trust.

Is It Any Good?: scoring a paltry 4.7 on IMDB, one would think that An Affair To Die For would be an unwatchable mess but truth be told, it is not a bad film. The tension is cranked up to 12 and the acting is first-rate.

The story is tight and keeps you guessing until all the possible options are exhausted. An Affair To Die For is an entertaining little thriller.

Spoiler Territory: Doctor and lecturer, Holly Pierpoint (Claire Forlani) heads to a plush hotel to meet her lover, Everett (Jake Abel), having told her husband, Russell (Titus Welliver), that she has a conference to attend. Reaching The Grand Deerward hotel she is greeted as Mrs Alan and told that her husband has booked the black diamond suite.

Dave (Nathan Cooper), the hotel porter, takes her to the room. In the room, Holly finds an envelope with a message from Everett. She chills out and then finds another gift from him in the form of some bondage wear and a blindfold. It asks her to put on the blindfold and handcuff herself to the bed.

She does as requested, waiting for him to return. He comes into the bedroom. He begins gently, caressing her. He then turns her over and begins making love to her. At first, she enjoys it but then he holds her head down, thrusting violently as she begs him to stop. He leaves her crying face down in the bedroom.

In the main suite area, Everett is tied up as Russell comes out of the bedroom. He tells a scared Everett that he is not to let Holly leave the suite. Everett, who is also married with a young daughter, is told the life of his family depends on it. Everett goes and un-cuffs a frantic and angry Holly. She immediately gets ready to leave. Everett gets a phone call. It is Russell. He warns Everett that the safety of his family depends on him following instructions.

Everett manages to get Holly to stay. Russell calls again. He is impressed by Everett’s powers of persuasion. He tells him that he has to keep her there until the next day. Everett goes and talks to Holly, lying about the sexual assault and apologising by saying he believed that was what she wanted. Russell calls Holly.

He tells her that Everett is dangerous and that he has had affairs before and she is just the latest in a line of women. With a thread of distrust between the two, Everett and Holly, they begin to break their own self-imposed rules, asking one another about their partners.

Holly tries to get help from a neighbouring room whilst on the balcony but there is no one there. Everett comes into the bedroom. Holly is in the bathroom, she says she is going to take a shower. Everett joins her. Whilst in the shower, Holly tells Everett that Russell works in surveillance. Everett is furious, realising why Russell knows what they are doing all the time.

Everett leaves the bathroom. He gets another message. He is to drug Holly. Everett starts searching the suite for cameras. Holly gets dressed and has the same thought; she should drug Everett. He comes and asks her to come and have a drink with him on the balcony. She comes out to the balcony but asks him if she can have a glass of white wine.

As he goes to get her the wine, she puts a drug in his wine. Inside, Everett has put a drug in the white wine. Back on the balcony the two toast as both drink. They are interrupted by a knock at the door. It is Dave with the dinner service. Holly tips Dave. They sit down to dinner.

They are having a fraught conversation about their relationship. There is another knock on the door. Everett gets a message. It is a picture of the tip Holly gave Dave with a message written on the note. At the door is another dinner tray. Under the tray is Everett’s wife, Lydia (Melina Matthews), severed finger with the wedding band still on it.

A flustered Everett returns to the dinner. Holly, seeing he is distressed, moves closer to him, acting as though she is trying to console him. She threatens him with her hairpin, telling him to tell her what is going on. Everett tries to reason with her but then overpowers her and tells her that Russell is behind everything. Holly does not believe him and fights him off. The drug she put in his drink starts to take effect. Holly gets up and realises that she too has been drugged.

When she wakes up, she finds herself chained to a wall. Everett wakes up and comes and sees Holly. He tries to go near her but she is too angry to let him near. She tells him to release her saying Russell will come after him. Everett goes into the adjoining room and finds Russell restrained in a wheelchair with his tongue cut out.

Everett un-cuffs Holly and takes her to Russell. Russell dies from his injuries. Everett’s phone rings, the voice is disguised. It tells him the message is for both of them. Only one of them can leave the suite. Everett picks up a kitchen knife. Holly begs him not to kill her but Everett insists he has to otherwise, his family will die.

The police knock on the suite door. Everett puts down the knife and goes to the door. While he is speaking to the police, Holly, who had found a note in Russell’s hand saying ‘safe’, open the safe and finds a memory card. At the front door, the police want to talk to Holly. Dave has gone missing. Everett wants her to tell the police that they have not seen him.

Holly tells the police the truth, the last time they saw Dave was when he brought dinner. They thank her for her help. As Everett answers a few more questions, Holly grabs the knife. When Everett returns, she brandishes the knife letting know the tables are now turned. They talk, him telling her how Russell was initially controlling everything.

Holly wants to know who is controlling things now. He does not know. Everett tries to talk Holly out of killing him but gets too close and gets stabbed. He dies. A phone rings. Holly answers it. The voice tells she is free to leave but if she wants to know who was behind it all she should comets another hotel room. Holly goes to the room. She finds a frightened Lydia tied up there. She frees her and tells her to wait whilst she goes to get help.

Holly sees a bank of monitors all with cameras to the suite they had stayed in. She puts the memory card into the computer and sees Russell installing cameras. Behind him she sees Lydia. Lydia comes into the room and tells her that she has framed her for all of the crimes, including Dave’s murder.

The women fight over the memory card. Holly overpowers Lydia. Lydia goads her, telling her that her daughter will pay for her sins. Holly kills her with a vase. Security burst into the room and apprehend Holly. The end.

An Affair To Die For is an entertaining 82 minutes of cinema. With the beautiful Forlani in the lead as doctor Holly Pierpoint and the ever-reliable Welliver and the not as well known Abel rounding out a strong cast, the plot holes are ably covered by the very strong performances.

Written by Elliot San and directed by Victor Garcia, An Affair To Die For is a pacy thriller that takes the already heightened situation—illicit affairs—and adds an extraordinary premise. That two people, who are lying to the people they love so as to see one another, are then forced to lie to one another to try and—in Everett’s case—save his family, and for Holly, to save herself, is mildly ironic.

The film is beautifully shot and directed, with most of it taking place inside the hotel suite, giving the story a sort of claustrophobia. It is also edited quite well, the filmmakers having the confidence to let the film be shorter rather than fill it with unnecessary scenes.

The weakest part of the film is probably the slightly rushed ending, with Matthews’ Lydia being exposed as the mastermind behind their ordeal. It was all a little bit silly and her being a borderline psychopath was a little bit of a cop-out, especially as she had been so meticulous up until that point.

Like I said earlier, the film only scores 4.7 on IMDB, a somewhat harsh score. It is definitely better than that score would suggest and is worth a watch if you have a spare eighty minutes.

How We See It.

Perception is a strange thing. Take two youngish men, both of whom have, let’s say, taken advantage of their status and the attraction it brings and had affairs. So far, so normal. One of the men had an affair with a friend’s ex – girlfriend, breaking the unwritten – but well known – rule of never getting together with a mate’s girl, ex or current. The other man slept with his brother’s wife.
   For those who do not know, whether it is because of not following the UK’s dominant sport – football – or because UK news does not affect you, the fact that this story is about two prominent sportsman will be of little surprise. What is a little strange is that the reputation of the sportsman who slept with his brother’s wife is less tarnished than the other.
   John Terry has the reputation of being a bit of an oik. A man of true working class roots, with a face that is to an Adonis what brick is to marble, Mr Terry, an uncompromising, but highly accomplished defender, does not project the air of a cuddly fella. A one club player, Terry has been a stalwart of Chelsea football club since before vast riches made them a force in world football. He more than any other player, represents the nouveau riche, cash-without-class, we’re-rich-and-we-don’t-care, attitude that irked so many opposition fans, made jealous or envious of the club’s sudden wealth.
  Being the captain  of such a club pushed Terry more into the limelight. So when the papers found out the married Terry was sleeping with a former teammate’s ex – girlfriend,  they could not wait to break the story. How could he sleep with his friend’s girlfriend?! What would happen, now that they played for different teams, when they met? What about his wife? John Terry did not get an easy ride.
  Ryan Giggs slept with his brother’s wife. Maybe they are not very close as siblings, maybe he was sick of lending him money, maybe she was an unrequited love. Maybe. He slept with his brother’s wife.
   The Manchester United former winger was a player of some talent. Fleet of foot, beautifully balanced, a footballing brain and given to – though I would argue too infrequent  – moments of brilliance.  He was the sort of player people paid to see and he played for one of the most famous teams on the planet.
  A good looking, urbanite, Giggs has enjoyed sporting success, a, relatively, blemish free reputation and personal acclaim. Even after failing to keep knowledge of his indiscretion suppressed – he tried to have the story legally squashed – he is still held in high regard in sporting circles.
   John Terry is no paragon of virtue. His reputation  outside of football is subject too many negative rumours; greed, gambling, racism. Ryan Giggs, currently enjoying life as assistant manager of Manchester United, slept with his brother’s wife.