When viewers first see the trailer or hear the plot for The Roommate, the new psychological thriller starring Leighton Meester and Minka Kelly, the first thing to come to mind is the 1992 film Single White Female. The films feature similar plots, leading some to wonder if The Roommate is actually a remake of Single White Female. But no, it's not... but it probably would have been better if it actually was a rehash.
When Sarah (Kelly) starts her freshman year at the fictional University of Los Angeles, she's assigned Rebecca (Meester) as a roommate. The two become fast friends, going to gallery openings together and even bringing in a stray cat named Cuddles to join them in their dorm room. Little does Sarah know, Rebecca tends to lean toward the obsessive, psychotic side and by the end of the first semester Sarah will be begging for a normal roomie with faults like forgetting to take out the trash.
When it comes to "disappearing" animals, erasing ex-boyfriends' phone messages and general obsessive creepiness, The Roommate falls in line with the long list of psychological thrillers like Single White Female. Where the two films vary is in the back-story of the psychos - the difference being in Single White Female, Hedra actually had a past. Redundant thriller clichés aside, The Roommate's biggest problem comes from a lack of motivation and reasoning for Rebecca's psychotic behavior. Yes, there's mention of a "friend" who she had become obsessed with before, but there's no reasoning to explain her behavior. Rebecca's parents are afraid of her, but why? At least in Single White Female, Hedra experienced a tragedy earlier in life, which prompted her strange behavior.
It seems Meester's biggest roles during her burgeoning Hollywood career all have found her playing neurotic weirdos, all of whom have crazy tendencies. Most recently, Country Strong found Meester playing a former beauty queen turned country singer who would do anything to make it big, even though she feared singing in front of an audience at first. In her most famous role as Blair Waldorf on TV's Gossip Girl, she has her moments of pure evil as the privileged Upper East sider, while still maintaining human emotions. Now as Rebecca, Meester takes neurotic, evil and crazy to another level. It will be interesting to see if there are more roles like this in her future.
I imagine that one day The Roommate will run during ridiculous Lifetime movie marathons; it had that kind of vibe. The film didn't prove to be much of a thriller at all as the corny clichés and lack of back-story hurt the film. It would be hard to even categorize the film as a psychological thriller. Perhaps "predictable thriller" would be a more apt classification.
Starring Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly
Directed by Christian E. Christansen