You Belong to Me (2009)
Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Shannon Elizabeth, Christian Campbell, Andrew Kenneth Martin, Victoria Sanchez, Elliot Larson
Directed by Richard Roy
The first half of You Belong To Me is more or less your basic Lifetime Network men-are-evil stalker flick. The second half takes on a supernatural twist when the stalker is killed and continues to stalk her from beyond the grave. Sort of like The Entity remade for the Lifetime Network but without all the stuff that made The Entity worth a damn.
Let me pause a second to address an issue many of you may be wondering right about now. Why would I bother to watch a Lifetime Network supernatural thriller to begin with, you ask? There's a very simple explanation for this. I was very bored.
Having previously been haunted by Thirteen Ghosts and raped to death by a psycho snowman's carrot in Jack Frost, Shannon Elizabeth, looking mighty fine I might add - a fact not lost on the director who frequently captures her in some state of undress, returns to the horror genre as Alex Wilson: successful career woman, divorcee, single mother. All she needed was breast cancer and she could have been the quintessential Lifetime Network movie heroine. She'll have to settle for stalking instead. The accomplished autobiographic editor finds herself being stalked by a pair of shoes, as that is all we see of her stalker for half the movie. It could be her abusive ex-herring, I mean ex-husband. That theory gets the kibosh put on it when the authorities determine he has been overseas the entire time.
Who else could possibly be stalking her? Might it be her new poetry-loving co-worker Michael McBride who so obviously wants to make Alex his McBride it should be painfully obvious to everyone, particularly a book editor even Michael himself claims to have "an affinity for affairs of the heart"? The only way his attraction to her could be any less subtle would be for him to drive them both out to a cliffside, declare his undying love for her, and attempt to force her to commit suicide with him so they can be together forever. That comes later.
To say there are no surprises when it comes to the identity of her stalker would be an understatement. Not exactly the most compelling stuff here even after the story takes a turn for the paranormal. They used to make made-for-television ghost movies like this all the time back in the Seventies. They knew how to make cheap yet effective TV chillers back then. Go search some out for yourself and then come back to watch a You Belong To Me that wants to be a suspenseful yarn but is so damn mild it ends up being more yawn than yarn. How mild? R.L. Stine wrote edgier material than this.
So Alex sends Michael plummeting to his death and thinks that's the end of her stalker woes. That is until Michael begins stalking her from the other side. What does this otherworldly obsessor do with his supernatural stalking powers? He begins by making crank phone calls, of course. His apparition appears in mirrors. His apparition also appears in the middle of the road while she's driving. That's not the only automobile fun he's capable of; let's just say he also takes the concept of backseat driver to a whole new level. And be on the lookout for flying vases and tree limbs too. Most terrifying of all, he sends breakable objects flying across the room when angered. Let no cliche go unturned. He even does what has quickly become one of the most overused cliches of ghost movies today: manipulating a child to do his bidding.
I don't believe this movie was actually written. I think it was spawned forth through some sort of screenwriting version of mitosis; like if writing cliches existed in a physical form and could divide like cells. I do believe that is how the screenplay for You Belong To Me came about.
We even get treated to the standard sequence in which a person with psychic abilities is brought in to Alex's house so that she can declare there is indeed an evil presence and then gets freaked out by the fixated phantasm.
Determined to deal with her otherworldly stalker, she embarks on her own little Nancy Drew mystery to uncover the mysterious past of one Michael McBride. I don't recall Nancy Drew ever pouting as much as Shannon Elizabeth does here, though.
I'd like to conclude by briefly discussing Alex's boyfriend's indestructible rib cage. She's dating a lawyer with a thing for fixing up cars. Early in, those ominous shoes find their way into his garage while he's working underneath a car and releases the jack. The guy spends almost an entire day pinned under a hot rod yet only suffers a few busted ribs. The explanation given for his survival is the car catching enough of a cinder block or something to keep all the weight of the automobile from crushing him to death.
Even more inexplicably, he gets out the hospital days later; Alex takes him home and they waste no time having sex. Shannon Elizabeth still mounts and humps him despite multiple broken ribs. Somehow he is not in absolute agony from this. I've known people who suffered lesser rib injuries than this character and let me tell you, a simple cough or sneeze or even a hearty laugh was painful to them. You've just gotten out of the hospital with a chest full of busted ribs and a hundred-plus pound woman is on top riding you - you are going to be feeling that and not entirely in a good way.
1/2 out of 5
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