The Roommate’ falls flat; horror film fails to scare

Some movies are so bad that they become really enjoyable for how lame and unintentionally hilarious they are. Then there are films that are so bad they move past that point to become just plain awful again.

“The Roommate” is one such awful film. The movie is a train wreck that offers little to no pleasure for the viewer.

Despite being a horror film, there are no thrills, jumps or shocks in the entire run of the movie. It plays like a watered-down version of “Single White Female” (1992). It is clear from the get-go that the movie follows, quite lazily, the “crazy stalker” plot line that has been exhausted already. Not only does it trek over ground that other films have already traveled, but it does so in the most unimaginative and derivative ways possible.

As Sarah, Minka Kelly does little except look like a supermodel. She wears trendy clothing and expertly put-on makeup, even when she is just hanging around her dorm. In fact, everyone at the school just seems to be there to look pretty. It never feels like a university as much as it does the set of a CW drama about privileged teenagers.

The supporting cast contributes nothing but its young and attractive looks, and character development is a distant afterthought. It might make the movie look good, but it also makes it feel very superficial and empty, as not one of the actors seems to be even trying to create a three-dimensional character.

The film never gets that gory, as it is rated PG-13, and it excludes anything that might be too graphic, leaving the film boring and lifeless. The film never builds any kind of real tension in its delivery and heavily relies on a cliche string orchestra score to fake suspense. Horror films have used that type of music for decades, and using it in this film just seems standard and pointless.

Leighton Meester plays the psychotic roommate, Rebecca, with little originality or finesse; she simply has her character stare expressionlessly in an unintentionally meek way. What hurts her performance even more is that her crazy actions are often weakened and diluted to avoid gore, but in doing so, the film favors Rebecca’s insanity over creating any type of legitimate horror.

he film also never gives Rebecca any believable or real reason to have this instant obsession with Sarah. Consequently, Rebecca just comes off as a flat character that invokes very little emotion because she has no real motive. She is just the stereotypical “crazy” character of a horror film.

Even Rebecca’s more intense stalker actions do not elicit chills. She increasingly threatens anyone who takes up Sarah’s time because she wants Sarah all to herself, yet it is all done in the most unoriginal ways. From blackmailing a professor who is giving Sarah a hard time to attacking one of Sarah’s friends in the shower, they are all tactics that have been in cheap B-movies for decades now. There is not a single action or character that has not been seen in hundreds of movies before and done a hundred times better.

The film never even lets itself get trashy enough to be fun in a campy way. It does not feature any sex, real violence or blood. It takes itself too seriously as a horror picture to at least get some laughs out of its poor acting and cheesy setups.

Not many people who see “The Roommate” will come in with high — or any — expectations for the movie, but even so, the film somehow still manages to be worse than expected. With little gore or thrills, “The Roommate” is an empty and vapid horror film experience that will have many wishing they had not wasted a full hour and a half of their life.

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