The Lodger (2009) (R)

Review Date: January 23rd, 2009

This faux Hitchcock mystery whodunit will only have you guessing why they bothered to remake it in the first place.


Based on a 1913 novel, The Lodger is a story about a couple who take in a mysterious lodger and find out he might be a suspect in a series of Jack the Ripper-like murders. Alfred Hitchcock made a film version in 1927 -- and it should have ended there. But writer/director and all-around Hitchcock groupie, David Ondaatje couldn't help himself. This time it's set in current West Hollywood in which an estranged couple (Hope Davis and Donal Logue) take in handsome tenant (Simon Baker). Meanwhile, police detective Chandler Manning (Alfred Molina) tries to solve the case of a ruthless killer murdering prostitutes on the Sunset Strip, Ripper style. Bunch of questions arise, including the biggest one of all: Why bother with ANY of this hogwash?


Even more baffling is why a fine group of actors would ever spark to such a dismal script. The usually wonderful Molina is adrift in a role that increasingly makes no sense as the film meanders along. As his rookie partner, Shane West piles on cliché after cliché of every police procedural. Davis comes off looking even worse, but really no one could have made this part work. Logue yells a lot. And Baker, who currently has a hot TV series The Mentalist, is probably wishing he had those powers to see what a turkey this was going to be before signing on.


Ondaatje is a self-professed student of Hitchcock, but he should have spent more time studying Hitch's films rather than actually trying to copy one. Even though he tries to ape several signature shots of the famous director, it's all in vain. The Lodger is nonsensical, amateurish and so brazenly predictable. Check out Hitchcock's original instead.

Bottom Line rated this film 1 star.