Ms. Meester gets all psycho in The Roommate

Come on. If the plot seems familiar, its because it probably is. The Roommate is a movie that pays homage to Hollywood’s best stalker movies, and serves up the horror of familiar scenes that still retain the creep factor even while it arouses a sense of deja vu. The trailer alone of The Roommate almost gives the entire movie away, but only just.

The Roommate stars Friday Night Lights star Minka Kelly as Sara Matthews, who transplanted herself from Des Moines to study fashion at ULA. She shares a room with Rebecca (Leighton Meester of Gossip Girl fame), who, from the onset has shown the tendency of being overly possessive and is antisocial except for Sara. However, unlike Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Hedy Carlson in Single White Female, Rebecca doesn’t want to take over Sara’s life, but rather, take the place of her dead sister Emily, who Sara still mourns years after her death.

I couldn’t really classify what movie this genre belongs. While there were murders, it could hardly be called a slasher flick because most the scenes were kept short, leaving viewers to fill in the blanks about what happened to the disposable characters of the film. It couldn’t be classified as a psychological thriller as well, because from the onset, it has been a given that Rebecca was not right in the head. Ah! Perhaps, suspense… because while audiences await Becca’s next act, they are treated to sequence after sequence of her eccentricities, further establishing her unhealthy mental state.

Sara and Rebecca during their happier days

I applaud Leighton Meester in her portrayal of Rebecca, the demented roommate. While my sympathy lies with the cat she murdered in the wash, Miss Meester managed to add new levels to her acting, separating Rebecca from the scheming Blair Waldorf, the TV character of which she is mostly identified. While there were nuances of the New York socialite in her mannerisms, her portrayal as a needy, obssesed friend was believable. I was sold on it. On the other hand, Minka Kelly, was also a great choice for the role of Sara. She is likable and has a very open face. Audiences immediately relate to her character and root for her to survive because she is just too hot to die. Hellcats’ Aly Michalka also makes an appearance as Sara’s party-going friend Tracy, as does 90210’s Matt Lanter as Sara’s former boyfriend Jason. Cam Gigandet also plays Stephen, Sara’s frat boy/drummer boyfriend and self appointed protector.

The jig is up! The psycho is in

The pacing was a bit too slow for me because nothing keeps happening during the first half of the film. What I would have wanted was for the filmmakers to delve deeper into Rebecca’s backstory. What happened between her and Nina Dobrev’s character Maria? Did she have violent tendencies then? Even flashbacks would have been a good breaker during the lulls to add meat to the story, so that when it came time for Sara and Stephen to find out about her schizoprenia and bipolar disorder, they would have understood what they were dealing with better. There were a lot of openings in the movie that was wasted by unnecessary scenes that served little to the impact of the flick itself.

The catfight in the end between the two as they grappled for the gun is probably the most action that viewers could expect from the movie, the stab to the back (I won’t tell who) is actually a quite tasteful statement about the end of their friendship, although I’m not quite sure that people die from that just as easily.

All in all, The Roommate will probably not go to the annals of history as one of Hollywood’s best suspense thrillers but it certainly wont be counted as among the worst. Its a good popcorn movie, great for watching with friends. The scoring was fun, the actors all fresh. They delivered what they set out to do, and that is to come out with a decent flick. A for effort. B- for execution. I should say, not bad at all.

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