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Review: The Roommate (2011)

The Roommate (2011)

Directed by: Christian E. Christiansen

Premise: A college student is assigned a clingy new roommate whose obsessions turn violent.

What Works: The Roommate’s only notable performance is in Cam Gigandet as the lead character’s boyfriend. He is likeable and the actor demonstrates qualities befitting of a leading role in future films.

What Doesn’t: There is very little to recommend about The Roommate. The film is not well cast in its lead roles. Minka Kelly comes across as a blank; her character is not written very vividly, the actress brings little to the role, and the character is indistinguishable from the other women in the background of the film. Leighton Meester is also miscast. Although she has provided strong performances in other projects, Meester is unable to credibly convey the insanity and danger of her character. The film attempts to give her a background by introducing her parents, but upon revealing that the character suffers mental illness and has been proscribed medication, The Roommate creates a serious problem for itself. Once this mental illness background is introduced, the film can no longer get away with mere deranged craziness. At that point The Roommate becomes a depiction of a person suffering from a disease and it is incumbent on the film to treat the character as such. The Roommate does otherwise and as a result the film goes beyond the sphere of a low rent thriller and into the territory of crass exploitation. Aside from the acting and thematic problems, The Roommate lacks suspense or tension and the film has no sense of rising action, which is critical to a thriller. 

Bottom Line: The Roommate is a poorly made thriller. It is crippled by bad acting, poor storytelling, and very questionable use of mental illness.

Episode: #326 (February 13, 2011)