Kate’s Addiction (1999)


aka Circle of Deception

USA. 1999.


Director/Screenplay – Eric De la Barre, Producers – De la Barre, Laura Caulfield & Robin Norris, Photography – Jeffrey Wilkins, Music – Bill Conn, Production Design – Emily Kovner & Michael Volker. Production Company – Libra Pictures/Table 7 Productions/PolyVinyl Films


Kari Wuhrer (Kate McGrath), Farrah Forke (Sarah), Joel Gretsch (Jack), Matt Porretta (Dylan Parker), Matt Borlenghi (Ezra Parker), Natalie Radford (Zoey)


Kate McGrath hires a private detective to track down her best friend Sarah in Los Angeles and then goes to visit her. The two have been best friends since high school in New Orleans and Kate demands to know why Sarah did not come back to carry out their plans to open a flower shop together. Sarah explains that she fell in love with her boyfriend Dylan and decided to stay in L.A. However, when Dylan confides in Kate his intention to marry Sarah, Kate and her friend Zoey then conspire to fatally stab Dylan and make it seem like a mugging. Kate moves in with Sarah as she recovers. One night, Kate gets Sarah drunk and seduces her. Afterwards, Sarah decides she wants to forget about the incident. However, as Sarah becomes involved with Jack, a man she meets at the gym, Kate becomes possessive and starts to kill those that get in the way of what she believes is her and Sarah’s love for one another.

Despite a title that makes it sound more like a film about a girl with a substance abuse problem, Kate’s Addiction is a modestly effective psycho-thriller. It is a variant on psychosexual stalker films like Fatal Attraction (1987) and Basic Instinct (1992). Most Fatal Attraction/Basic Instinct copies are tawdry and clichéd but Kate’s Addiction is one of these that is surprisingly effective. For one, there is the novelty of it being a psycho stalker film a la Fatal Attraction where the stalker is the same sex as the stalkee and is merely a best friend with an unfulfilled lesbian crush on the other.

The film has some good characterisations, with the romantic scenes between Farrah Forke and Joel Gretsch aboard the yacht being especially warm and convincing. Director/writer Eric De la Barre is constantly putting twists on the audience. There is the scene where Kari Wuhrer turns up at Farrah Forke’s house where all parties meet in the kitchen – her, Forke, Matt Borlenghi’s horndog brother who is clearly coming onto Kari, and Matt Porretta’s fiancée to whom Kari suddenly announces that Forke is coming back to New Orleans to open a flower shop. It is a scene that contains a collision of elements where one momentarily has no idea where on Earth the film is about to go. There is a similar wildly chaotic creativity in the scenes where Kari Wuhrer and her dopehead girlfriend Natalie Radford gang up to attack Matt Porretta, which starts going wrong as Radford screws it up by referring to Kate by name and then suddenly pulls a knife and stabs him, whereupon Kari plunges the knife into her own stomach while at the same time urging a clearly rattled Natalie Radford on to finish him off.

Kari Wuhrer does far too many of these trashy erotic thriller roles and B movie parts when she has demonstrated elsewhere that she is more than capable of doing fare that requires her to keep her clothes on. Here though she is disappointing in a role that rarely amounts to much more than one-note villainy, especially so towards the end. Much better is Farrah Forke, who presents a strong, intelligent and likable character in what might otherwise have been a stock part. All of this adds to a modestly above-average psycho-thriller – one would certainly like to hear more from Eric De la Barre.

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