ONTD Original™ - Halloween Edition: 20 Thrillers About Dangerous Obsessions

No one likes to be rejected. Whether it be professionally or personally. Some handle it better than others while a few act out in scary ways. Here are twenty movies where characters' obsessions become dangerous.

The Guest (2014)
Directed by Adam Wingard
Starring Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Brendan Meyer, Leland Orser, Sheila Kelley, Lance Reddick

A family is visited by a soldier that served with their oldest son, now deceased, in the army. They invite him to stay with them in the meantime, but they quickly learn that the soldier is hiding a secret.
This movie pretty much changed the course of Dan Stevens' career. Who would have thought that Cousin Matthew from Downton Abbey could make an evil character so enthralling? While there is no actual love/lust subplot in The Guest, there is an obvious sense of tension between Steven's character and the family's daughter (and maybe the younger brother, too). The whole household seems to be enamored with him. Ultimately, Dan plays a soldier with a "mission," and he will do anything to complete it.

Fatal Attraction (1987)
Directed by Adrian Lyne
Starring Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, Anne Archer

A married man makes the mistake of cheating on his wife with someone else, but their tryst has turned the other woman into a jilted lover. Now, the husband has to stop her before it's too late.
This award-winning, classic erotic thriller from 1987 is the grandparent to all similar movies that came after it. That poor rabbit...
One Hour Photo (2002)
Directed by Mark Romanek
Starring Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, Michael Vartan, Gary Cole

A photo technician at a store becomes obsessed with the family in some photographs he develops. He eventually learns that this family may look ideal on the outside, but they are far from that on the inside.
The director has mostly done music videos for artists including David Bowie, Janet Jackson, Madonna, Nine Inch Nails, and more. It really shows in the aesthetic of One Hour Photo. The late Robin Williams gives a disturbing, almost pitiable performance here.
Misery (1990)
Directed by Rob Reiner
Starring Kathy Bates, James Caan, Lauren Bacall

After a car accident, a popular author ends up at the secluded home of one of his most fervent fans. Injured and bedridden, the author is held against his will as well as forced to write a new novel based on his captor's fantasies.
Kathy Bates won an Oscar for her performance in this Stephen King adaptation. What hasn't already been said about Misery? The hobbling scene alone will always leave viewers on edge.
The Crush (1993)
Directed by Alan Shapiro
Starring Alicia Silverstone, Cary Elwes, Jennifer Rubin, Amber Benson

A writer rents a guest house after moving to Seattle. The owners' fourteen-year old daughter immediately becomes smitten with their new tenant...
The '90s were ripe with these kinds of stories. They were so trashy and embarrassing. Most of the time, they were unwatchable. However, this 1993 entry in the niche subgenre of thrillers is so-bad-it's-good. Alicia, who was seventeen at the time, looks nothing like a fourteen-year old, but that withstanding, she gives it her all as the unbalanced, hormonal stalker.
Fear (1996)
Directed by James Foley
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Reese Witherspoon, Alyssa Milano, William Peterson, Amy Brenneman

A teenager gets romantically involved with a boy that her father does not approve of. The new beau reveals his true colors, leading to a very dangerous situation involving the teen's family and best friend.
This 1996 teen thriller had a great cast. Mark Wahlberg plays the psycho boyfriend a bit too well, and Reese Witherspoon is sympathetic. Poor Alyssa Milano. Her character really suffers a lot in this one. The Sundays' "Wild Horses" cover will never be the same to you after that one scene on the roller coaster.
Mother's Boys (1994)
Directed by Yves Simoneau
Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Peter Gallagher, Joanne Whalley-Kilmer, Luke Edwards, Joss Ackland, Vanessa Redgrave

After abandoning her husband and sons, a disturbed woman tries to reinsert herself back into her former lifer. She will stop at nothing to be fully reunited with her children and spouse.
Scream queen and ultimate final girl Jamie Lee Curtis switched it up in this 1994 mess. She plays an unrealistically unhinged parent so well that you just forget how terrible a movie this is. Laughing makes it more tolerable.
P2 (2007)
Directed by Franck Khalfoun
Starring Rachel Nichols, Wes Bentley, Simon Reynolds

A businesswoman gets stuck in a parking garage on Christmas Eve with a security guard that is obsessed with her.
This torture porn isn't as torturous as stuff like Hostel or even the The Hills Have Eyes remake, but it can be brutal. Yet the ending is so cathartic.
Play Misty for Me (1971)
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Starring Clint Eastwood, Jessica Walter, Donna Mills

A radio host unhappy with his current relationship has a one night stand with a random woman. However, the woman isn't so random - she's an obsessive fan.
The mother from Arrested Development and Archer steals the show in Clint Eastwood's directorial debut as a director.
Crush (2013)
Directed by A.G.
Starring Lucas Till, Crystal Reed, Caitriona Balfe, Sarah Bolger

A well-liked teenager injures his knee, maybe ending his chances at playing soccer in college. As he heals, he starts to receive anonymous love letters. He has no idea who it could be, but perhaps it's the new girl he just met. Or maybe it's someone else. Someone who won't be happy until she has him all to herself.
The other posters for this movie completely spoil the story, but perhaps it's not that surprising of a twist either. This Crush is hardly a step above Lifetime garbage. It's harmless, though. Unlike the stalker in this movie. It shouldn't be surprising that the script was written by the guy who wrote The Roommate.
Single White Female (1992)
Directed by Barbet Schroeder
Starring Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Steven Weber

When seeking a roommate, recently single Allison finds what seems to be a good match in Hedra. That is until she starts to mimic Allison. From her clothes to her hairstyle, this new roommate wants to share more than just the rent - she wants Allison's entire life.
Single White Female's title is so iconic that even those who have never seen it know the basic plot. Jennifer Jason Leigh seems like she had a lot of fun making this.
Swimfan (2002)
Directed by John Polson
Starring Jesse Bradford, Erika Christensen, Shiri Appleby, Jason Ritter

A high school athlete cheats on his girlfriend and sleeps with the seductive new girl, Madison. He immediately regrets his decision, but it's too late. Madison wants more...
This Fatal Attraction for the teenage demo is really bad and generic, but hey, it's funny to watch at least once if you catch it on basic cable one weekend afternoon.
The Boy Next Door (2015)
Directed by Rob Cohen
Starring Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, John Corbett, Ian Nelson, Kristin Chenoweth

A newly separated high school teacher sleeps with her much younger neighbor. When she realizes that he is a student at her school, she tries to cut him off. This does not work and the neighbor becomes violent.
J.Lo, what were you thinking? Really?
The Fan (1996)
Directed by Tony Scott
Starring Robert De Niro, Wesley Snipes, Ellen Barkin, John Leguizamo, Benecio del Toro

A divorced, disturbed knife salesman only cares about one thing: the San Francisco Giants' newest recruit, Bobby Rayburn. His obsession finally causes him to do unthinkable things to his idol.
This stalker thriller tanked at the box office, not even making its budget back. That doesn't mean it's wholly bad. However, The Fan drags at a running time a few minutes short of two hours. A good thirty minutes shorter and The Fan would have been much more tolerable.
The Loved Ones (2009)
Directed by Sean Byrne
Starring Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, Richard Wilson

When her peer declines her invitation to a school dance, a disturbed teenager abducts the object of her affection and forces him to attend a private, twisted event at her house. There, the young man is tortured by both his classmate and her father.
The director's debut is a sick one that will make you squirm. Some people really can't take rejection well, can they?
The Roommate (2011)
Directed by Christian E. Christiansen
Starring Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet

Rebecca doesn't appreciate it when her new roommate Sara starts to branch out and make other friends. To make matters worse, Sara moves in with her boyfriend. This all causes Rebecca to take drastic action to get her roommate back.
This subpar thriller is forgettable except for a very tragic scene involving a[Spoiler (click to open)]cat.Yeah, that's a spoiler. Consider this a favor.
The Temp (1993)
Directed by Tom Holland
Starring Timothy Hutton, Lara Flynn Boyle, Faye Dunaway, Oliver Platt

A busy businessman thinks he's saved when a temp immediately replaces his regular assistant. But he learns just how cutthroat his new employee really is when it comes to climbing the work ladder.
The Temp is so god awful, but you can't stop watching. Especially as you eagerly anticipate how much bigger Lara Flynn Boyle's hair can get throughout the movie.
The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992)
Directed by Curtis Hanson
Starring Annabella Sciorra, Rebecca De Mornay, Matt McCoy, Ernie Hudson

A widow, whose husband died of suicide after assaulting a patient, takes revenge on the family she blames for ruining her life. She becomes their nanny and slowly starts to destroy them from the inside out.
This box office runaway was a great vehicle for Rebecca De Mornay, who really does play crazy well. It may not have aged well, but The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is a classic in sordid psycho-thrillers of the early '90s.
To Die For (1995)
Directed by Gus Van Sant
Starring Nicole Kidman, Joaquin Phoenix, Casey Affleck, Illeana Douglas, Matt Dillon

A small town weather reporter dreams of hitting it big. And she will manipulate anyone to get there.
This may be a controversial if not debatable opinion: This is Nicole Kidman's best performance. If anything, it might be her most entertaining one.
Beautiful (2008)
Directed by Jung Jai-hong
Starring Cha Soo-yeon, Lee Chun-hee, Choi Moo-sung, Kim Min-soo, Lee Min

Eun-yeong hates all the unwanted attention and jealousy she receives from men and women respectively. After she is sexually assaulted by a stalker, she becomes withdrawn and more self-hating. Eun-yeong wants to rid herself of whatever others find beautiful about her.
This is a highly messed up story written by Kim Ki-duk (3-Iron). It shares a dark tale about the victim of stalking, and it has a very startling ending.

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[Other entries in my ONTD Original™ - Halloween Edition series]