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Blu-Ray : One to Avoid
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Release Date: May 17th, 2011 Movie Release Year: 2011

The Roommate

Overview -

College student Sara finds her safety jeopardized after she's assigned to a dorm room with a new roommate, Rebecca.

One to Avoid
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
BD-50 Blu-ray Disc
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/MPEG-4 AVC
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
English, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Special Features:
Alternate Opening Sequence
Release Date:
May 17th, 2011

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Bitch be crazy!

That should have been the tagline for 'The Roommate'. Instead they went with a much weaker tagline, "Murder can really ruin a friendship." They couldn't even get the movie's tagline right, which doesn't give much hope for the movie itself.

Sara (Minka Kelly) wants to have the perfect idyllic college experience. She wants to live in the dorms with a roommate, go to parties, date pretty boys, and work at a coffee shop. It's what all pretty, young women want to do in college right? Well, Sara gets her wish. She finds herself enrolling in college and finding the dorm room where she'll be staying. She soon gets a roommate, Rebecca (Leighton Meester) who at first seems oddly enamored with Sara. It's no big deal though. The two get along swimmingly. They hang out together, borrow each other's clothes, and giggle about boys.

'The Roommate' slogs on and on during the first two acts as it slowly establishes how crazy Rebecca actually is. Putting a tiny kitten in a dryer brands you certifiably insane, right? Rebecca starts a nutty crusade to become the only person that Sara can count on. She does this by systematically eliminating everyone closest to Sara. Whether that means attacking them, or threatening fatal bodily harm.

Why she's so infatuated with Sara isn't really explained. She just is. Rebecca goes to great lengths in order to separate Sara from her friends, which includes seducing both the men and women who are closest to her, because it wouldn't be a PG-13 thriller without the tiny titillation of two hot girls sharing a smooch.

You may recognize Minka Kelly as the woman who greets Tom at the end of '(500) Days of Summer.' I'm sorry, but her limited acting ability seems to only make her useful for tiny stretches. Here she's asked to carry an entire movie, and while she's easier to watch than say Megan Fox, her mouth-breathing acting style soon begins to wear on the nerves. Leighton Meester is good at being crazy, but the movie never really gives her much motivation other than she's just insane. She's supposed to be taking pills, but she isn't. Case closed. That's why she's nuts. Her character would have been much more intriguing had the movie decided to give her some type of motivation or end game. Finally, there's Cam Gigandet who plays Sara's boyfriend Stephen. Gigandet does his best squinty-eyed Christian Slater impression which becomes the worst part of the movie. I found myself wishing that Rebecca would knock him off sooner rather than later. Somehow on the outskirts of the movie Billy Zane has been roped into a role that means nothing in the bigger picture.

'The Roommate' is as bland and as uninteresting as teeny-bopper thrillers get. Pretty people partying with other pretty people until one of them snaps. It's boring and uninventive. All the talk about mentally stabilizing drugs in this movie got me thinking that 'The Roommate' could be used perfectly as a sleep aid. Welcome to snoozeville.

Video Review


'The Roommate' was shot digitally and has that all-too-familiar digital flatness to it. It's 1080p presentation is dotted with reference-quality video, but when the movie descends into the darker territories inherent in thrillers, it finds itself fading into obscurity. Sony's transfer is technically proficient, as there aren't any technical anomolies mucking up the works. However, blacks need some help here. All too often they appear flat and undefined. They lack that depth and dimensionality that blacks tend to have when a movie has been shot on film. Shadows offer somewhat crushing visuals whenever Rebecca slinks around in the darkness plotting her crazy plan. Colors are bright and vivid, especially during daytime scenes. There are a few aerial shots of the campus quad that look spectacular. The lush greenery of the college campus juxtaposed with the faded whites and reds of the buildings looks great. When the sun is shining 'The Roommate' looks really good, but dim the lights a bit and it suffers from loss of detail and depth.

Audio Review


Sony's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is the same old run-of-the-mill audio track for a suspense thriller. I'm not saying that it's bad in any way, but it doesn't offer any surprises.You know that the generic music will be used to build suspense. You know that the movie will try to scare you with phony outbursts of brass instruments blaring at you. Yes, the soundtrack is just as generic as the movie, which in a way takes away from its overall effectiveness. It's hard to become immersed in a track as generic as this no matter how well it's been mixed. With that said, dialogue is clean and clear, with whispers sometimes being lost in the falsely dramatic mix. The movie's music seems trapped up front, rarely finding its way to the other channels. Ambient sound isn't all that wonderful, but a few instances, where crowds of partiers gather to drink and listen to bands offer some decent surround sound. While the audio may be technically proficient, this is something you've heard a million times before.

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary — You really want to watch 'The Roommate' all over again? With a serious commentary? This isn't a commentary that makes fun of the movie (this one is ripe for a RiffTrax), but this is a commentary from director Christian E. Christiansen. He gives cursory information about where the movie was shot and what it was like working with certain actors. It's interesting hearing him talk about what they had to do in order to assure themselves a PG-13 rating, all the while pushing it as far as they could. Like the movie, this commentary is bland, but if there are actual fans out there for 'The Roommate' I guess you'll want to listen to what Christiansen has to say.

  • Deleted & Alternate Scenes (SD, 6 min.) — A handful of seven throwaway scenes that you can tell were cut for pacing reasons. Considering the stuff that made it into the movie, you don't have to be a genius to realize what didn't make the cut and that you shouldn't bother with any of it anyway.

Final Thoughts

'The Roommate' is laughably bad, and is only bolstered by the fact that its cast is easy on the eyes. Too bad their acting is subpar. This is as generic as movies come. It's not recommended for anyone. The video and audio are decent, but just as generic as the film itself. This is one to avoid.