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Film Review: The Roommate (2010)

SYNOPSIS:

A paranormal thriller involving two young women who start off as roommates but become much more. These working ladies have such a wonderful time living together, sharing their new home. Their friendship gets deeper, until a bond of love forms between them. But soon their world is terrorized by an uninvited “guest” who possesses one of them. The demonic entity uses her like a puppet to murder innocent people, leaving her lover torn between protecting her roommate and unwillingly aiding the evil actions of the spirit. She soon must take a final stand.

REVIEW:

A recent release in the Asian horror market comes in the way of thriller, “The Roommate“. This film works by centering namely on 2 young women sharing an apartment in Tokyo. One works nights while the other works days. They build on a friendship that bonds a closer relationship bordering on romantic but is still kept from going completely in that direction. As the movie plays out, they take care of each other, have picnics and share the few moments in between the shifts that keeps the bills paid. All is well from the interim but soon a darker element enters into the mix. Viewers will of course make a few instant callouts to films like “2LDK” and maybe “A Tale of Two sisters” but it is different enough not to be either of those films.

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It is apparent that this film was filmed on the very minimum of budgets letting the performance of the 2 actors take the lead and carry the story from within a single apartment thru most of the film. So I didn’t expect elaborate FX or sets on this one that relies heavier on drama mixed in with some terror. The terror comes in the way of a single ghost entity which plays out in the same way that 100 other films with Asian ghosts play out. Yep, one eye looking, long black hair, white gown and some jerky apparitional movements. On the most part the scenes weren’t very scary but still at times provided a certain creepiness. Its just “that” creepiness has been overdone to the point that we as viewers are pretty immune to the effect.

As the relationship grows closer, so does our main characters Ayako Sato, an office worker and Tamaki who works as a bartender. An uninvited spirit possesses one of them and begins to kill off several visitors by hiding the bodies within the closets. We are never really given an immediate reason except that we suspect jealousy mixed in with madness of some compacity.

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The spirit appears to possess Tamaki and carries out these things under its spell. The film plays its plot on alot of assumptions that reveal in the 3rd act as something completely else. This “mystery ending” brings all into focus and in its explanation somewhat confuses but seems to iron out on its own. After watching this, I had felt like I had seen this before, which was only a reaction from its borrowing of plotlines from so many films. The film does succeed on still carrying out a plot that needs no budget to fuel it forward relying on story telling instead. The horror portion is lighter than others of Asian origin and keeps the nastiness at bay in this round.

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As of this review, I could not find any IMDB listing for this 2010 film, so my credits list was a bit fragmented though I can tell you that it’s directed by Hisaaki Nagaoka’s and stars Midori Tahara, Sayori Shiozaki, Mikami Tsuyoshi (Cure) and Ryousuke Watabe. The film was produced by Yokoyama Hideaki and written by Nagaoka Hisaaki. You may have some trouble locating it with the other 15 titles also called “The Roommate”, but your best bet is to do an Amazon search. It is subtitled and features some behind the scenes additions on the DVD. I did find Tamaki charming and beautiful which counteracts her Asian killer style role. I recommend giving this one a viewing but not so much a purchase. From the reaction of fan forums, the content may be a bit redundant to entertain “all” the viewers, but I still wouldn’t call this one a failure either.

The Roommate (2010)

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