Film Review: The Roommate

roommate

The premise of the story is nothing new. Stalker acting as antagonist? Check. Antagonist pretending to be a friend? Check. Creepy friend saying words that could have alternate meanings but protagonist is too dense to realise? Check. Increasingly psychotic episodes in an attempt to unnerve the viewer? Check. Bad guy gets killed in the end? Check.

Contains spoilers, duh.

The story follows that of a girl, Sara, attending university (or college, as they call it, seeing as it’s set in the US) for the first time. She is a typical heroine: aesthetically pleasing (because horror/thriller females have nothing else to serve aside from looks… obviously), annoyingly optimistic, and falls in love with a guy she literally just met. She meets her new roommate, Rebecca, who comes across initially as a introverted girl who is genuinely fond of Sara.  However, as Sara’s relationships grows with others around her, including her new boyfriend, her professor, and her other friends, Rebecca becomes increasingly unstable and obsessive to the point where she intends to take out anything and everything that prevents her from hogging Sara all to herself.

Now, it wouldn’t have made a bad thriller, because the subtleties were all there. The little irritated look from Rebecca when Sara talks to others aside from Rebecca. The intense gaze when Rebecca sweeps her hands across Sara’s belongings. The little manic gleam in Rebecca’s eyes when she hatches a new plan and the audience swallows and goes “uh-oh.” The problem is that there is no suspense. Everything is predictable. Sara’s cat is the reason for Sara moving out? Rebecca kills the cat. Sara tells Rebecca her pervy professor kissed her? Rebecca gets professor fired. Ex-boyfriend of Sara bothers Sara? Rebecca kills him. Everything is massively predictable.

There are good things, mind. The thing that popped out most was that Leighton Meester, the actress who plays Rebecca, is very talented. The subtle changes in her facial expressions – eyes gleaming with a new idea, features darkening when she sees something that displeases her, the dangerous throb beneath that benign-looking smile when she’s going in for the kill – she makes a fantastic innocent-faced psychotic killer. The other characters, however, are very bland. Sara is the stereotypical damsel-in-distress who is keen to frolick with new-found friends and boyfriend. The boyfriend – who was so plain I forget his name – is a typical dumb jock who’s only there to rescue Sara (plus, he’s really not good looking. I thought male supporting cast were supposed to be attractive? I realise I’m a bit hypocritical here.) I’ve failed to recognise Sara’s artist friend who is a lesbian on the three times I’ve seen her on screen because she just didn’t make any impact at all.

The predictability continues to the end. Everything looks like it was going Rebecca’s way. The boyfriend is (apparently) dead, Sara’s giving up, all the people who should be dead for being in the way are (more or less) gone. But then, bam! Sara’s outstretched hands that scattered Rebecca’s bag’s contents happened to find the boxcutter that Rebecca had. And stabs her with it. And kills her.

Now, I don’t know how many people have wielded boxcutters, but those things are flimsy as feck and snaps when you stab too hard into a bloody cardboard box, let alone someone’s back. Not to mention the blade was out barely an inch when Sara grabbed hold of it. How the hell was it supposed to kill Rebecca when it entered her left scapula?

I mean, what.

At least make the death less BS-y.

Not to mention the directors/producers, being the sensitive assfaces they were, blamed all of Rebecca’s peculiarities and homicidal tendencies on her mental illness. That’s right. Rebecca suffers from a psychotic illness, likely bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Way to perpetuate the stigma against mental illnesses, there. Scary character with killer tendencies who’s been attacking everyone and stalks the poor protagonist? Let’s make her have a named mental illness!

That pissed me off to no end.

Naturally because the entire cast bar Rebecca were annoying as hell and limp as a wet dish cloth, I was behind Rebecca all the way.  But even her death was unexciting.

Verdict: 2/5

Worth the watch, not worth the cinema ticket.

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