BY ANDREW OKE
I walked into the cinema to see Moses Inwang’s Stalker praying to the gods of the Silver Screen to surprise me, because I was going to see yet another Nollywood movie that I knew next to nothing about, and from my experience, that never turns out to be a pleasant experience.
Stalker is by far the most surprising and shocking Nigerian film anyone can go see at the cinema today. I don’t say that because it has a twist that comes from so far left field that when it hits, it blows your proverbial mind. I say that because it goes from being so good to being so excruciatingly bad so fast.
The film follows a Kayla; a celebrity stylist played by Nse Ekpe Etim in her most disappointing acting performance to date. On her way back from handling a late night wardrobe malfunction, she gets a flat tire and is ambushed by a herd of robed head hunters. Cornered, she screams for help and is rescued by an executive cab driver (think Uber Black), Mike, played by Jim Iyke in perpetual “rape face.” (Rape Face: adjective. To look like one is two seconds away from committing a rape). Things take a turn for the frightening when Mike starts obsessing over Kayla and begins to stalk her. Mike’s stalking (and rape face) becomes too much for her to handle, so she gets a restraining order against him. Now he’s out of her life and she can focus on her life, career and boyfriend, that is until she finds out her boyfriend is married with a kid.
I know what you’re thinking; that doesn’t sound so bad, well from this point, the movie dives head first into a whirlpool of confusion and incoherence. Kayla, who is now depressed and lonely goes on a bender and comes to the realisation, with the help of her sister, that Mike, her crazy-out-of-his-mind stalker is the right man for her. When he reveals that he never stalked her and all their meetings were pure coincidence (this really happened in the film) and says he can’t be with her on account of the fact that he’s got a fiancée now, she takes a turn for the psychotic and starts stalking Mike and his fiancée.
I can only imagine that when Moses Inyang thought up this film, he believed it was one hell of an idea, and to be honest, it sounds excellent: “The stalked becomes the stalker”. But when you sit down and think about for a bit, you come to the realisation that it makes no sense at all. It almost seemed like I watched two different movies. The first: a slow burning thriller; the second: a Jekyl and Hyde horror flick, because Nse Ekpe Etim clearly plays two different characters whether she intended to or not. Matters aren’t helped by the abysmal acting performances from Jim Iyke, Caroline Danjuma and Nse Ekpe Etim who had a horrible American accent.
This film lost its way in the story and on the page, long before a single frame was shot. There’s so much done well in terms of directing and cinematography. There’s a rather impressive shot at the tail end of the film where we follow Nse Ekpe Etim’s character as she falls off a balcony. However, since the story is lacking, there’s very little that can be done to redeem the film. Story is the foundation of a film, and when that’s lacking the entire film comes crumbling down.
This film was extremely frustrating to watch. Everyone in the hall (about 20 of us) rang out a chorus of sighs every other minute, because there was always something to annoy you or put you off, like plot holes or unexplained and unnecessary scenes. For example, in one scene we see Jim Iyke’s Mike watching Kayla from outside her hotel room window, however, when he explains how all his instances of stalking were mere coincidences, he forgets to explain this very occasion.
Stalker is very much a film of two halves: The bearable first half and the excruciatingly painful second. And if there was any justice in the world (of which there isn’t), cinema patrons would only pay half price to see it, since technically they would only watch half of the movie. This is because they would spend the entire second half of the film cringing and rolling their eyes to the back of their heads.