Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Remake Comparison Project - Living with a Roommate Can Be Murder

Cody and Priscilla take a look at Single White Female and its unofficial remake The Roommate.


Single White Female began as a novel called SWF Seeks Same, written by John Lutz and published in 1990. The film rights were quickly picked up by Columbia Pictures, who gave the directorial reins to Barbet Schroeder, a filmmaker who had started out producing French New Wave films in the '60s. The screenplay adaptation was handled by Don Roos, who at the time was a television veteran but would go on to be a feature director in his own right, his films including The Opposite of Sex and Bounce.

The muted color of the first scene in the movie implies that it's a flashback. There are two little girls, twins, playing with makeup in a bathroom. One of the girls clearly has a better idea of what she's doing than the other, applying the makeup on herself as well as her sister.

I really like this scene, it gives us some insight right away. We don't know who they're supposed to be, but we have some information about a character right from the start.

From there the title sequence establishes the location where the majority of the rest of the film will play out, a large apartment building in New York City. Within one of the apartments resides a young woman named Allie Jones, played by Bridget Fonda, who seems quite happy when we first meet her. She has a fiancé, Steven Weber as Sam Rawson, and they're planning their future together - the wedding, the number of kids, all that. That future goes out the window when Sam's ex-wife calls and reveals over the answering machine that he has still been sleeping with her behind Allie's back.

Single White Female seems to me to be a film that would be primarily of interest to a female demographic, so I do find it somewhat surprising how much female nudity Schroeder packed in here. It starts right away, with Allie walking out of the bedroom fully nude to turn off the answering machine. It's not like this is Fifty Shades of Grey or something, the nudity feels kind of arbitrary.

Allie's best friend / upstairs neighbor is a gay man named Graham (Peter Friedman). Through the building's ventilation system, Graham is able to overhear the argument that ensues between Allie and Sam, and he's there to comfort Allie when she shows up at his door at 4am after throwing Sam out.

It doesn't matter how close you are to someone, you don't go knocking on their door at 4am. Maybe if someone died, but because you had a fight with your fiancé? Come on, people have lives, it's like the world revolves around her. From here on it's easy to see that Allie is selfish and not very thoughtful.

Allie tries to move on, but she doesn't feel good about living alone. So she won't be tempted to give up on her dreams and return to her hometown, she decides to put out an ad for a roommate, a fellow female to share the apartment with.

Good move not using the novel's title "SWF Seeks Same" in the ad, otherwise we'd be asking why Allie doesn't want to share her place with a single female of another race.

That'd be a weird choice. I'm glad they didn't go with it.

Many women stop by to check the place out, but the standout is a very pleasant girl played by Renee Estevez of Intruder and Sleepaway Camp 2, credited as Perfect Applicant. Perfect Applicant does not become Allie's roommate.

The final applicant to show up is Hedra Carlson (Jennifer Jason Leigh), an awkward girl with odd style who catches Allie crying over Sam. Hedra comforts Allie and promises to fix her kitchen sink, which sprays them both with water. By the time their clothes have dried, they have bonded. Allie has even nicknamed Hedra Hedy. Assuring Hedy that she won't be reconciling with Sam, she asks her to be her roommate.

The girls continue to bond after Hedy moves in. Hanging out, doing home improvements, the fashion-minded Allie gives Hedy a makeover. They seem happy living together. To complete their home, Hedy soon gets a puppy that she names Buddy. Allie isn't receptive to Buddy at first, but quickly warms up to him... In fact, Buddy seems to like Allie better than Hedy, which doesn't make Hedy very happy with him.

Hedy seems very weird at first, and her clothes don't help. I wonder if Allie decided to pick Hedy so she could have a "personal project" to work on, and also to feel superior. Something she couldn't have done with Renee Estevez's character.

The first indication of trouble in the apartment comes not from Hedy but from Allie, who goes snooping around in Hedy's room. She finds medication, is tempted by the presence of an old shoebox, looks at her jewelry, tries on her perfume. Hedy covers up the shoebox, but is otherwise quite understanding. During the conversation that follows, Hedy reveals that she was supposed to be a twin but her sister was stillborn. She has always felt that a piece of her was missing because of this.

Snooping is not cool. This only makes me like Allie less. Nothing had happened that would've prompted going through Hedy's things like that.

Allie is an only child. Hedy's twin was stillborn. What was that flashback then? Hrm.

One of them is into fashion, the other one is fashion-challenged, so... who's lying?

For weeks, Allie does her best to avoid Sam's phone calls, and Hedy secretly helps her out by erasing the answering machine messages she's not there to hear. Eventually, Sam just shows up at the apartment to talk to Allie, upset that not only has she been screening his phone calls, she also ignored a letter he sent along with his keys to the apartment. Allie never received the letter or keys.

It doesn't take much at all for Sam to convince Allie to give him a second chance. Their relationship is soon back to the way it was, with Allie wearing her engagement ring and the couple plotting to move Hedy out of the apartment and Sam back in. How much time should they give her? A month?

By now I'm flat out thinking Allie is a horrible person. Hedy asked her if there was any chance she'd get back together with Sam, and seeing how easy it was for Allie to take him back, she should have at least told Hedy there was a possibility, even if it was very remote. Doesn't sound right. The lack of consideration is astounding.

It's not cool at all of Allie to go back on her word to Hedy so quickly, but then Schroeder makes sure we don't feel too much sympathy for Hedy by showing a scene where she's mean to Buddy while Allie is out with Sam.

When Allie stays out late with Sam one night, Hedy sits up waiting for her and acts like an angry, worried parent when Allie finally does show up.

Knowing that she's going to be kicked out of the apartment soon, Hedy starts to act even more bizarre than usual. She's mean to Buddy. She wears skimpy clothing and flirts with Sam when he's over, making Allie worried that Sam might cheat on her again, this time with Hedy. Allie catches Hedy masturbating soon after.

Allie is weak. If that's all it takes for her to worry about Sam cheating again, then maybe she shouldn't have taken him back, especially not so fast. Seems to me like she's one of those women who simply can't be without a guy.

The next morning, Hedy makes breakfast while Sam does repairs on a busted part of a window guard. Hedy calls him away from the job when breakfast is ready, then Allie comes out. Hedy's feelings are hurt by the fact that Allie doesn't eat any of the breakfast, opting instead to have an orange, and then declines her invitation to cook dinner for them.

No one in this scene really eats anything. She made a big breakfast and only a couple bites are taken of it. This is no way to treat bacon and eggs.

So sad. Well, Allie doesn't look like she eats much of anything anyway.

Allie and Sam go searching for an apartment for Hedy behind her back. When they return, they find that Buddy has fallen to his death, apparently through that busted window guard.

More plotting and selfishness. Goodness.

Maybe it's just my perception, but Single White Female seemed to be kind of a big deal when it first came out. It definitely had an impact on me. I watched it several times during my childhood, and I still remember the first time I saw this scene where Buddy has died, which includes an aerial view of the dead dog on the sidewalk. We had rented the movie on VHS, I was 9 years old, and this moment deeply disturbed me.

The movie was a big deal here in Brazil as well. I think some of it has to do with the fact that Bridget Fonda was highly popular here around that time, so people went nuts about pretty much anything she was in back then. And yes, I do remember finding Buddy's scene heavy, watching the movie in the '90s.

After Allie has gone to sleep that night, Sam goes to comfort the mourning Hedy. The crying woman uses this as an opportunity to try to seduce him, but he just sends her to bed.

Allie is a software designer who has created a marketing tool that allows her clients to "redefine their product" on a computer screen "without going through an expensive redesign process". After a bad break-up with her former partner, Allie has been hired to teach her program to the workers at Fontana Fashions, a company run by Mitchell Myerson (Stephen Tobolowsky). It's a very important job for Allie, and Myerson uses that knowledge against her, hiring her for a lower price than intended and then withholding payment. If she wants to be paid and for him to refer her to other companies, she's going to have to sleep with him.

When Myerson gets too touchy feely with her, Allie reacts by bashing him in the testicles and running out. That's not enough for Hedy. To really get even, Hedy makes a threatening phone call to Myerson warning him not to trash Allie around town.

Earlier in the film, Graham mentioned seeing a woman dressed just like Allie, but it turned out to be Hedy. There have been previous hints that Hedy has several articles of clothing that match Allie's, but Allie is disturbed to find just how many matching clothes actually are in Hedy's closet. This "twinning" that Hedy is doing gets even more troubling when she gets an exact replica of Allie's distinctive hairstyle.

Getting the exact same hairstyle is too much, mostly because Allie has somewhat of a unique look, but the clothes shouldn't be taken so seriously. We know Hedy has no sense of style or fashion, and that Allie was helping her. Like they say, "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery".

Trying to imagine how I would feel if a friend started twinning me. I don't have much of a standout fashion sense, so it might be tough to notice. It would only require wearing blue jeans and black T-shirts. Even if they were replicating my collection of classic rock band and horror movie shirts, it might seem more cool than unnerving. 

The hair is a step too far for Allie. She snoops in Hedy's room again, this time opening the shoebox and discovering evidence that Hedy's twin sister actually died when they were 9 years old, drowning during a family picnic... Also, Hedra Clarkson is not her real name. She is Ellen Besch... And that letter Sam sent with the keys is in the shoebox, too.

Later that night, Allie follows Hedy out to some strange sex club. Hedy seems to be a regular here, and the employees know her by the name Allie.

If it weren't for the fact that she's introducing herself as Allie, the idea that she frequents this odd club would be the least weird thing about Hedy.

Sound travels both ways through the apartment building's ventilation system. When Hedy gets back from the club, she hears that Allie is upstairs, telling Graham everything she has discovered. Graham is adamant that Allie needs to throw Hedy out as soon as possible. If she hesitates too long, Graham will go to the police. He does offer to get Hedy help from a psychiatrist friend of his, and even calls in the favor.

After Graham hangs up the phone, he catches Hedy sneaking around in his apartment. So she beats him with the lock bar from his door. When Allie finds Hedy washing Graham's blood out of her clothes, she brushes it off as being from her period.

Then it's time for Allie to try to talk to Hedy about moving out. She's not very firm about it, so Hedy is able to take control of the situation, calling her weak and saying she won't be there for her when Sam cheats on her again.

Graham's call to the psychiatrist wasn't the only call made. Allie called and left a message for Hedy/Ellen's parents, and Hedy answers when her father calls to ask her to come home, promising there won't be any doctors this time, threatening to stop sending her money if she doesn't return. Hedy tells him not to call back and takes the phone into her room.

So it's Hedy who answers the phone when Sam calls to let Allie know he has gotten back from a business trip. She goes to his place wearing nothing but a coat and high heels. In the dark room, she's able to get into Sam's bed and be doing things to him that only Allie should be doing before he realizes she's not Allie.

After all the female nudity the movie has had, here's a little something for audience members who prefer male nudity: Steven Weber butt and a very quick shot of dong.

Fair is fair!

Hedy tries to use this as blackmail - if Sam calls things off with Allie, she won't tell Allie what happened between them. Not being in the wrong, Sam does intend to tell Allie what happened. When he moves to go out the door, Hedy throws a shoe at him, so enraging him that he charges at her. So she sinks the heel of her other shoe into his eyeball, killing him.

If only Sam hadn't decided it would be a good idea to try to beat up a woman, he might still be alive today.

Sam really wasn't a good guy. If we had doubts before, we definitely don't now.

Allie sees the news report on Sam's murder the next morning, and from there the movie descends into 30 minutes of mayhem as Hedy takes Allie hostage at gunpoint, tying her up in Graham's apartment. At first, Hedy says she wants to take Allie on the road with her - going on the run together, since Hedy is responsible for murder but Allie is the one who will get the blame for it, since the doorman at Sam's place "recognized" her.

Hedy felt abandoned by her sister when she died and has been trying to replace that hole in her life. She references also trying and failing with a girl in Tampa.

When Allie isn't receptive to Hedy's ideas, Hedy feels like she's going to have to kill her and try to make it look like a suicide, so then Allie starts playing mind games, trying to manipulate Hedy into letting her live. And letting her loose.

Mitchell Myerson gets involved in the situation when Allie's software threatens to delete all of Fontana Fashions' data because his final payment is overdue. He rushes to the apartment building to confront Allie. Unfortunately, Myerson is a failure as a hero.

Creep turns out to - almost - be the hero.

Graham, who turns out not to be dead, is slightly more effective, aiding Allie in a crucial moment that leads to the final confrontation between the roommates.

I think Single White Female is a solid thriller that works as well as it does mainly because of Barbet Schroeder's direction and Jennifer Jason Leigh's performance as Hedy. The story and the way it plays out really isn't all that special and Bridget Fonda wasn't given a particularly likeable heroine to play with Allie, so in different hands this could have been forgettable, but Schroeder and Leigh elevated the material so much that this movie has had a place in my mind for over twenty years now.

True, I agree. I have seen this movie a lot of times, especially around the time it came out. Other than acting and directing, it just has something about it that makes it interesting. It had been at least a decade since my last viewing, and I was wondering whether or not it'd hold up. Turns out it does. I found myself invested during its entirety.

While it doesn't strike me as a stylized film, there is something about the look and tone that Schroeder was able to capture that makes it very unnerving to me. At times I feel like there's almost a dreamlike atmosphere to it, and I don't really know what makes it feel that way.

I know what you mean. It's very palpable, yet hard to define, and it makes the movie all the more gripping.

Leigh is really fantastic as Hedy. She owns this film, showing that her character is a very troubled girl who does some over-the-top crazy things, but she never seems over-the-top herself. Hedy seems quite real, and often frustrating and infuriating.

There couldn't have been a better choice for Hedy. Leigh stole the show with her performance. This is a character that you're meant to hate, yet you can't help but feel sorry and even sympathetic for her sometimes. That's mostly thanks to Leigh. By the end it becomes clear that Hedy is a lost cause, but throughout the movie, there are times when it truly feels like all she needs is a friend. A good one who's not as self-involved as Allie.

The rest of the cast is good as well. Fonda does fine with a sort of lame character. I've liked Steven Weber ever since he starred on the sitcom Wings, which started in 1990 and was heading into the fourth of its eight seasons when this was released. His character is a total idiot, but Stephen Tobolowsky is always a welcome presence in a cast, and with nearly 250 credits to his name he's a frequent presence.

Allie is not a nice person, so Fonda really couldn't change that. I feel like she did very well though, no complaints about her performance. I think the cast is pretty solid overall.

Single White Female is a better movie than you might expect it to be. It's not one I watch regularly, but it's one I never forget. If you like thrillers and haven't seen this one, I would recommend checking it out.

Other than some things that happen during the last scenes that are a little too much, like a frail looking woman having abnormal physical strength and speed to pull off what she did, the movie is very believable. It's about something that could and does happen - though not to such extreme, hopefully - every day. Jealousy among friends, people needing love and attention. Add the right amount of suspense, an amazing performance, and great directing, and you get a very good thriller. I don't watch it all the time, but I definitely think it's worth checking.


Technically, The Roommate is not a remake of Single White Female. It wasn't marketed as such, it doesn't appear that remake rights were purchased, author John Lutz is not credited. We're meant to take this as an original project from Danish filmmaker Christian E. Christiansen, making his English language debut, and screenwriter Sonny Mallhi. This was Mallhi's first produced screenplay, he had previously co-produced or executive produced The Lake House, Shutter, The Strangers, and the 2008 film Possession. Three of those films were remakes, The Strangers being the exception. The Roommate may not acknowledge that Single White Female was an inspiration, but it's undeniable when you watch the film, because every element of SWF is in there in some scrambled way.

The Roommate moves the setting from New York City to Los Angeles and begins with Iowa girl Sara Matthews (Minka Kelly) arriving at her dorm room on the campus of the University of L.A., where she has come to study fashion. She almost immediately falls in with wild party girl Tracy (Aly Michalka), who drags her off to a frat party.

I like how upbeat the first few scenes are, it goes with the song and scenery very well. Just like the greyness goes with the NYC setting in Single White Female.

Before Tracy gets so drunk on spiked punch that she decides it's a good idea to flash her breasts to the crowd -

The arbitrary nudity was avoided on this one, allowing for a PG-13 rating.

Can't say I miss it.

- Sara has a "meet cute" moment with frat boy / drummer Stephen (Cam Gigandet), who purposely spills beer all over her to get a conversation started. Stephen helps Sara get the wasted Tracy back to their dorm and earns a kiss for his troubles.

Was Gigandet trying to be seen as the new James Dean in this movie? Is that why he's constantly squinting?

I've only seen him in a couple things, but I think that's his thing. Makes it hard to see the character as a nice guy, makes him look like a bit of a player.

Stephen totally did not deserve that kiss.

Spilling beer all over Sara and telling her about it makes him creepy or cute? I guess Sara went with the latter.

Stumbling into her room, the puke-drunk-on-punch Sara meets her roommate for the first time. She is Rebecca (Leighton Meester), a rich girl whose parents have given her everything she wants but she is clearly harboring a deep resentment toward them over something.

Not a very good first impression, and that punch must've really been something... Sara can't even bother to take her clothes or boots off before passing out.

Several scenes of the film are dedicating to showing Sara and Rebecca bonding. While Rebecca keeps her history to herself for the most part, Sara shares all kinds of stories with her roommate, telling her why she recently broke up with her boyfriend and revealing that she has the name "Emily" tattooed over her heart - a tribute to her older sister, who died when Sara was 9. Rebecca is the first roommate Sara has had since Emily died.

When Tracy ditches Sara while they're out on the town, Rebecca is there to come pick her up. Rebecca even puts up a poster for The Devil Wears Prada in their dorm room after finding out it's Sara's favorite movie, since it's about a girl succeeding in the fashion world. The girls visit an art museum together, and Sara even calls off a date with Stephen to go to an art show with Rebecca, since the tickets had already been purchased.

I find it nice that it shows Sara and Rebecca bonding. Tracy is not a nice friend, if you can call her that at all, and I must be too old, because clubbing looks like a nightmare to me.

Sara picks Rebecca's clothes for their night out, and gifts her with a pair of earrings, not realizing that Rebecca's ears aren't pierced. Rebecca doesn't hesitate to shove the earrings through her ears anyway.

Those earrings are gorgeous. Definitely worthy of having ears pierced for, but Rebecca should've at least used an ice cube or something, girl is into some pain, it seems.

If Rebecca's parents are as emptily materialistic as she says, it's tough to believe they didn't have her ears pierced when she was a baby, or that they didn't continue dressing her up with earrings throughout childhood. I guess maybe she could have stopped wearing them at some point and the holes healed?

The holes do heal if you go long enough without wearing earrings. Some people find it tacky to have ears pierced though, and Rebecca's mother seems a tad snobbish, so who knows.

Obviously I'm overthinking this, we're just supposed to think she's crazy because she's making holes in herself.

The girls aren't allowed to have pets in the dorm, but they do end up sharing a pet when Sara finds a stray kitten. They take her in and name her Cuddles, and try their best to make sure no one knows they have a cat in their room so they won't get in trouble and lose the kitty.

Their first real issue comes when Rebecca goes snooping through Sara's stuff, trying out some perfume and putting on a necklace she finds. That necklace is off limits. It belonged to Sara's sister.

Now this part makes more sense than Allie snooping through Hedy's things for no reason in Single White Female. By now Rebecca's obsession with Sara is full on, so it's fitting that she's going through Sara's stuff.

Rebecca strongly disapproves of Tracy's behavior and the whole club scene, and she feels that Tracy is a bad influence on Sara. To make sure her roommate won't be lured away by the party girl, Rebecca intimidates Tracy into staying away from Sara. She starts subtle, eerily lurking outside Tracy's door, then moves on to violence.

Tracy is taking a shower and singing "Crimson and Clover" when Rebecca bursts in, knocks her to the ground, warns her to stay away from Sara, and then tears out her navel ring to prove that she means business.

The most disturbing thing about this scene for me is a shot where Aly Michalka sticks out her tongue for some reason while Leighton Meester is holding her down, and her tongue actually touches the floor of the shower. If I were Tracy, I wouldn't know what to do first - tend to my wounded navel or get some antiseptic in my mouth.

Showers that are used by multiple people can be very gross. I'd probably be showering with flip flops on, and I definitely wouldn't be sticking out my tongue while on the floor. Nasty.

This movie could have used some more "Crimson and Clover" beyond Tracy singing it in the shower. Tommy James and the Shondells version or the Joan Jett cover, I'm good with either one.

Rebecca wants Sara to herself, but Tracy wasn't her only competition. A relationship begins to develop between Sara and Stephen, and Rebecca is clearly annoyed by this. One night Sara is out late with Stephen, so Rebecca waits up, calling her repeatedly. Sara doesn't answer. When Sara finally does show up, Rebecca confronts her like an angry, worried parent.

Sara broke up with her previous boyfriend, Jason (Matt Lanter), because they had agreed to go to the same college. When she was accepted into Brown and he wasn't, she chose not to go to Brown... and then he got in and went without her. Now that Sara is in L.A., Jason has been calling her all the time, even though she doesn't want to talk to him.

What a douchey thing to do.

On the night when Sara and Stephen consummate their relationship, an annoyed Rebecca is waiting in their dorm room alone when the cell phone Sara left behind rings. It's Jason. Rebecca answers, speaking in a whisper, pretending to be Sara. While Sara and Stephen are having sex in his room, Rebecca is having phone sex with Jason. Then she tells him to never call again.

This seems to improve Rebecca's mood, she's not so annoyed with Sara when she gets back the next morning.

All Rebecca needs is some action... and medication.

Another person who might take Sara away from Rebecca is her longtime friend Irene (Danneel Harris), who has already graduated from an art school and become a successful, globetrotting fashion designer. Allie's friend Graham was gay in Single White Female, so Irene is a lesbian.

The first time we meet Irene, she says that Sara's father has been calling her to check up on Sara. I find it quite odd that a dad would be calling his daughter's female friends to chat on a regular basis.

I didn't get any pervy vibe from that comment, and everyone knows Irene likes the girls, so I think it was actually kind of sweet that Sara's dad did that.

Irene lives in Los Angeles, and she invites Sara to move in with her. Sara likes the idea - it would let her get away from Rebecca's supervision, give her more closet space (since Rebecca's clothes take up most of the space in their dorm room), and she'd be able to keep Cuddles, no problem.

When Rebecca hears about the possibility of Sara moving in with Irene, and that keeping Cuddles is one of the reasons why Sara is considering it, she heads down to the laundry room and sticks Cuddles in a dryer.

We see how Rebecca kills Cuddles, something we didn't see when Hedy killed Buddy in SWF, but at least we don't see the body like we saw Buddy's.

They're both awful scenes, but what Rebecca did to Cuddles is even meaner.

Sara attends a much sought-after fashion design class taught by Professor Roberts (Billy Zane), who let her in because he liked her style and desire. That isn't all he likes. After class one day, he asks her to stay behind. He invites her to go to Fashion Week in Paris with him as his assistant, but there's a catch. He shows he has an inappropriate idea of what an assistant should do for him when he kisses her. She storms out.

When Rebecca hears about this, she puts on a skimpy outfit and goes to Roberts' office to seduce him, acting like she wants into his class. Slipping off his wedding ring, Roberts is very receptive. As he gets touchy feely with her, Rebecca starts acting like he's forcing himself on her. She reveals that she has been recording this, then bashes him in the testicles and exits.

That audio is sent to the dean, and Roberts goes on "a leave of absence".

It's amazing how Billy Zane manages to ooze sleaze without even seeming to try.

It's a gift!

Emily died two days before Thanksgiving, so Sara doesn't want to go back home for the holiday. She's split on what to do: Stephen wants her to stay on campus with her, Rebecca offers to take her to her parents' place. To win Sara's sympathy and get her to do what she wants, Rebecca beats herself up, even going so far as to cut her own stomach with a box cutter, then tells Sara she was attacked by some random guy while searching for Cuddles.

Wow... Rebecca is more of a psycho than Hedy was. Her actions are way more extreme, from ear piercing, to a direct confrontation with Professor Sleazeball, and then beating herself up badly.

Rebecca takes Sara to her mansion home on a gated estate. Sara meets her parents, who are awkward but seem nice and caring. They want to make sure that Rebecca is taking her medication, but Sara doesn't know anything about that.

This scene is so uncomfortable to watch. You can see that Rebecca's parents aren't bad people at all. They're afraid of her. I wish they'd have explained why she hates them so much. Did something happen, or is it just Rebecca being a poor little rich girl? Or maybe it's because she isn't exactly right in the head. Either way, with Single White Female there's some explanation as to why Hedy is messed up, with her sister dying and all, but The Roommate doesn't give much insight as to why Rebecca is so nuts. Maybe there is no reason, and she just is.

Rebecca takes Sara around town to see her high school hangouts and they cross paths with Maria (Nina Dobrev), who Rebecca has drawings of all over her room. During their brief interaction, it's clear that Rebecca had been obsessed with Maria in the same way she's obsessed with Sara.

After returning to Los Angeles, Rebecca does something quite unusual - she goes out for the night. Her first stop is a gas station, where the young attendant shows her a bit too much attention. To get him to back off, she sprays him with gasoline and pulls out a Zippo lighter.

Creeps everywhere... she takes it to another level, but I still don't feel bad for him.

Rebecca ends up at a nightclub -

Hedy went to a club, so Rebecca has to, right?

- where Irene happens to be partying. When Irene goes to the restroom, Rebecca follows... and is quickly and easily able to seduce her. Irene suggests that they go back to her place.

About 90 seconds pass between the moment when Rebecca walks into the restroom and when Irene suggests they go to her place. That has to be in competition for the fastest seduction in history.

Irene is the very definition of easy.

Meanwhile, Sara and Stephen have been doing some snooping around the dorm room, finding a full bottle of a medication called Zyprexa, an antipsychotic used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It doesn't look like Rebecca has been taking her meds.

After meeting Rebecca's parents, and Maria, it makes absolute sense that Sara would go through Rebecca's things. Unlike Allie in Single White Female.

The Zyprexa discovery is unnerving, but when Rebecca gets Emily's name tattooed on her chest to match Sara's tattoo and tells Sara she can call her Emily, that's the last straw. Sara moves out of their room, and since she can't get in contact with Irene she moves into Stephen's room. While moving out, Sara discovers two things: Emily's necklace is missing, and the sketchbook Rebecca would never let her look at is full of drawings of her.

One more example of Rebecca being too extreme. The tattoo with someone's dead sister's name is far more personal than any hairstyle, that is a clear "too far" in my book.

Sara doesn't have a remarkable haircut or color, or even overall style. Even though she likes hats and scarves, I'd say the most stylish thing about her is her red laptop - which is stunning - so having Rebecca copy her tattoo was a smart choice. Although the two of them do look a lot alike. They have very similar facial features, and they're both pretty.

Unlucky Jason shows up at the dorm after Sara has moved out, slipping a note under the room door saying that he's staying at a nearby hotel. Rebecca gets the note, dyes her hair dark brown to match Sara's, puts on Emily's necklace as well as clothes and perfume that Sara has left behind, and heads over to the hotel. In his dark room, she's able to get into Jason's bed and climb on top of him without him realizing she's not Sara. And then she stabs him to death.

Hrm. This scene seems pretty familiar. It was much more effective when Hedy and Sam were the characters involved. There's not even any dong this time. Stupid PG-13 rating.

Matt Lanter is so handsome though... no need for dongs, his face is enough!

Sara gets a text from Irene telling her to come over to her place. It's urgent. As Sara finds out when she gets to Irene's, Irene did not send that text. Rebecca did. Irene is on her bed, tied up and gagged. Rebecca confronts Sara with a gun and climactic mayhem ensues.

Ever since the first time I watched The Roommate, Single White Female instantly came to mind. Every now and then we get remakes that are in name only, with nothing else in common with the originals, and this movie is the exact opposite. Only the name is different. There's the very questionable significant other, sexual harassment coming from an authority figure, something awful done to a pet, gay best friend, and even a fashion angle. Hrm.

How does this not count as a remake? Everything that happens in Single White Female happens in The Roommate, it's just in a different order, gender has been changed, or a different character is doing it. It is Single White Female, but moved to college and softened for a teenage audience.

I actually could have done with it being softened a little more, because I have some sympathy for Rebecca, despite the fact that she killed Cuddles and her "poor little rich girl" act is annoying. I would have been satisfied if the film ended with her being locked up in a mental institution with nurses making sure she took her meds.

I don't feel so bad for Rebecca. For all we know she was just a spoiled rich girl who could afford treatment, but chose not to take her pills and simply go psycho on someone who was trying to be her friend. I don't think that being institutionalized would've helped much in this case.

Like Jennifer Jason Leigh in Single White Female, I would say that Leighton Meester's performance as Rebecca is the film's greatest asset. She plays both nice and nuts convincingly, and the role really allowed her to do some crazy things.

Leighton Meester gave an outstanding performance. The look she gives Tracy outside her door, her reaction when Sara shows up late, the whole thing with Professor Roberts, the blunt coldness with her parents. She provides some very intense and disturbing moments with her acting.

I guess Minka Kelly does fine work as Sara, there's nothing I would point out as lacking in her performance, I just don't really feel any connection with her character. Cam Gigandet's screen presence doesn't appeal to me very much at all. My favorite actor in this film other than Meester would have to be Billy Zane. The guy plays creep very well.

One thing is for sure; Sara is a better friend than Allie ever was. Sara was really there for Rebecca and made an effort to show it as much as she could. I like Minka Kelly as Sara, I think she did a very good job.

Nothing against Gigandet, but I think him and Matt Lanter should've traded roles. Lanter would've worked better as Stephen and Gigandet would've worked better as Jason.

I didn't know much about Danneel Harris other than the fact that she's one of the world's most envied women, Mrs. Jensen Ackles, but she did okay as Irene.

The Roommate isn't great, but it's not bad. It's a decent movie to put on if you want to watch a generic thriller or if you feel like watching Single White Female but you just don't think you could handle the heavier tone of that film at the time. The Roommate will provide you with everything SWF has, but in a lighter, less disturbing manner. And with more clothing.

The biggest difference between the two movies is undoubtedly the tone. Even though Rebecca seems to be sicker than Hedy, based on her actions, The Roommate is a lighter watch in every way. I've seen this movie a bunch of times and I like it a lot. It's not the best thriller out there, but I think it's a very good one, really enjoyable. One aspect that is a favorite of mine is the music; soundtrack and score are definitely to my liking. Directing is satisfactory as well. I would recommend it without a doubt.


  1. I really like Single White Female. It's one of the best psycho thrillers out there and JJL nails the part. Can't stand The Roommate. It's like the diet version of SWF. Like you said, lighter in every way. And also dumber.

    By the way, regarding the amount of nudity in SWF, I didn't find most of it arbitrary. I thought it was supposed to feel more natural, for lack of a better word. By that, I mean, if you're in an apartment alone with your significant other and you're already naked, do you always put something on before going to the next room? I bet the answer is no for lots of people. That said, it can be gratuitous as I don't think the movie is drastically different without it. Of course, I'm a dude, so take all that with a grain of salt, I suppose.

    1. Thanks for the comment. :)

      I see where you're coming from regarding the amount of nudity, as far as feeling more natural goes, and I think that might've been why they went with it, but somehow it just feels a bit unnecessary, gratuitous like you said. It doesn't exactly bother me or even gets to the point of being distracting, but it doesn't add anything either. But yeah, regardless of gender, we all have our own opinion of what works for us and what doesn't. In this particular case, and movie, to me it's just something that's there, really. Doesn't make it better or worse.