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Movie Reviews

The Roommate



Released: 4th February 2011

Directed By: Christian E. Christiansen

Starring: Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet

Certificate: 15

Reviewed By: Luke Walkley

So often as a reviewer, I am lucky enough to stumble across a gem of a movie. A piece of brilliant filmmaking, which, could not have been foreseen. It is with this open mindedness that I head into most films that I haven’t heard a great deal about.  The Roommate is most definitely one of these films that I had heard little about.

The Roommate, directed by the barely known Christian E. Christiansen, is the tale of college girl Sara Matthews (Minka Kelly- (500) Days of Summer) and how her roommate, Rebecca (Leighton Meester –Date Night) develops an obsession with her.  An obsession which, originally going only as far as worrying about Sara being out later than expected, quickly becomes one of violence.

The films begins with a typically clichéd teen horror/thriller opening, small town girl, Sara moves to the ‘Big City’ for College and awaits the arrival of her new roommate. Sara heads out to a party with a fellow housemate, gets drunk, meets a guy and stumbles home, all is normal in horror story land.  Meeting roommate Rebecca for the first time, we learn that Sara had a younger sister who died and that Rebecca never enjoyed her home life despite her parents spending lavishly on clothes and cars for her. Sara develops a friendship with other girls in the building as well as dating Stephen (Cam Gigandet – The Unborn, Pandorum). Rebecca becomes instantly jealous and takes to piercing her own ears in order to fit in with Sara.

That’s as much storyline as I can give away without spoiling the film, no this doesn’t mean that there is a massive storyline/twist. I simply mean if I regale any more of the story I will spoil the several remaining things that happen throughout the entirety of the film.

There are not a lot of talking points to make note of, I know this is a review, but when the film lasts 90 minutes and 70 of this is repeating the opening 10 minutes but with different scenarios then I’m pretty much left with pointing out why this film fell apart.

Let’s start with the aforementioned problem; we see that Rebecca has a few screws loose in her head within 15 minutes of the start. So when we see her start putting Kittens in washing machines for no apparent reason it’s almost impossible to take this film seriously. Sure, explore the psychological aspect of her character by all means, but at least do it in a way that the audience can witness some degree of character growth rather than start off with the main character ready to be sectioned.

The film jumps from point to point with startling pace. Opening one door, while leaving about three others open. The Roommate really has no idea where it is going, one minute talking about fashion and The Devil Wears Prada, to a lesbian kiss and putting a kitten on a 30 minute cycle. After watching the film I can recall at least four moments where the film began down a path only to get sidetrack by a shiny knife or the chance of showing some flesh in a shower scene.  It’s literally the definition of a film with attention deficit disorder.

The acting is substandard, choosing to go with the stereotypical attractive girls, as apparently everyone in American College is a Playboy bunny waiting to happen. In truth, Stephen, played by Cam Gigandet, is passable as Sara’s boyfriend, but only just and he’s not really the focus of the film enough to draw any real compliments.

Sure this is writer Sonny Mallhi’s first screenplay, but having been the producer on films such as the Lake House one would expect a higher standard of writing throughout. Although one point that deserves a mention is that it does maintain a certain level of decency, it isn’t a ‘boobs and blood-buster’ (a la Piranha) and doesn’t use ridiculous dialogue and quotes into gaps where they are so often crammed.

The movie apparently had a budget of $16,000,000 and this truly baffles me, there is a possibility for gore, yet it is never really shown, cutting away moments before any potential shocking scenes. The money must have been spent on the Porsche Rebecca drives, her parent’s house which they visit for all of one minute and the rest must have been spent on buying the right to mention ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ and some Unicorn tears maybe.

The Roommate really has no idea what type of film it wants to be, in truth it had more chance as a comedy, such as Jennifer’s Body, rather than attempt to go down the thriller/horror route. There is no aspect of horror and to be classed as a thriller it needed some degree of mystery or intensity but it lacks all of this. The film really makes me question how ideas like this still get made into feature films, pure money spinners that play on the public’s need for dumbed-down, switch your brain off entertainment and I feel sorry for anyone who has to pay to watch these types of films.

The Roommate will be forgotten quickly by all who watch it, repeitive and lacking any real excitement it really doesn’t offer any degree of interest for horror fans or film fans at all.

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