Friday 15 December 2017

Movies: The roommate **


Paul Whitington

The list of films to which The Roommate is -- shall we say -- indebted is too long to be numerated here, but Single White Female will do as a starting point. Silly as Barbet Schroeder's 90s schlocker might have been, it had a certain trashy style and even mild originality. It was damned entertaining too, but that's something this film will never be accused of. From start to finish Christian E Christiansen's would-be thriller trades in lazy re-hashes and tired-looking horror set-pieces that have been done far better by others, including Mr Schroeder.

Sara Matthews (Minka Kelly) is so wholesome and bushy-tailed that you know something unpleasant is going to happen her.

When she arrives from Des Moines to take up a place at a Los Angeles university, she's initially much taken with her new roommate Rebecca (Leighton Meester), a quiet girl who spends most of her time sketching portraits. But Rebecca is a tad intense: she stares oddly into the distance, and within days has decided that Sara is her new best friend. Sara thinks this is harmless, but what she doesn't know is that Rebecca has become obsessed with her, and bitterly resents any other demands on her attention.

From about two minutes in you know exactly where all this is heading, and when Sara finds an abandoned kitten and takes it back to her and Rebecca's room you feel like shouting "run, kitty, run!" Sara's buddies and boyfriend should watch out too, but nothing very interesting happens to them.

After trotting out weary horror chestnuts like the spooky nocturnal shower scene, Christiansen and his writers quickly run out of ideas and resort to such tawdry tactics as lesbian kisses. I perked up for them, but only briefly.

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