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Roommate Wanted Review

October 8, 2020 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Roommate Wanted
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Roommate Wanted Review  

Roommate Wanted Review

Angelique Sabrina White– Maria
Jack Shulruff– Dean
Ricky Cruz– Ricky
Isabella Valotti– Lucy
MJ Garcia– Kate
Mathew Haviland– John
Kristofer Mikal– Stew
Carol Stanzione– Aunt Faye
Sienna Even Benton– Detective Gonzalez
Michael Connors– Detective Murphy

(check out the rest of the cast here)

Directed by Michael McCartney
Screenplay by Michael McCartney

Produced by The Group Entertainment

Not Rated
Runtime– 90 minutes


Roommate Wanted, written and directed by Michael McCartney, is a nifty new horror comedy that recently had its world premiere at the Salem Horror Film Festival. Featuring a terrific cast and a killer balance of both laughs and disturbing scares, it’s a movie that should find a wide audience once it’s unleashed upon the horror movie nerd world.

Roommate Wanted stars Angelique Sabrina White as Maria, a studious and somewhat shy college student that, along with her roommate Ricky (Ricky Cruz), has to find a new third roommate after the previous one suddenly died (they were technically subleasing a room in a house they’re renting from some old lady. That really isn’t important but it’s a detail in the story). While both Maria and Ricky want a new person to share the house with, Maria is worried that they’re going to pick the wrong kind of roommate. Ricky, who is a bit of a free spirit, along with his sort of hippie girlfriend Lucy (Isabella Valotti), isn’t as concerned about finding the perfect roommate. Annoyed that Ricky isn’t taking this whole thing as seriously as she is, Maria decides to handle the new roommate search herself. After a goofy montage of roommates absolutely no one would take, Maria meets Dean (Jack Shulruff), a quiet seeming young guy that probably won’t generate any sort of trouble. Well, that’s the impression Maria gets when she meets Dean. He also seems like a nice guy, which is always a plus when it comes to potential roommates. Maria makes Dean an offer and Dean accepts. Maria and Ricky have a new roommate.

As soon as Dean moves in weird stuff starts happening. Maria keeps having bizarre nightmares where she’s attacked by a strange man wearing a hoodie. Dean also seems to have a lot of luggage and whatnot, way more than a normal person would seemingly have (especially someone who claims to move around a lot). And when Ricky decides to stage a big hooha party, Dean participates in the party but not as Dean, or at least not as the guy that showed up asking to be Maria’s new roommate. This guy is a wacked out party animal who answers to Charlie. Who the hell is Charlie?

Now, while all of that strangeness is going on, Maria is also dealing with her growing feelings for Kate (MJ Garcia), a girl that she would really like to date and get to know more intimately but can’t quite find the right way to do it. And Ricky, who doesn’t know that Maria isn’t into men, keeps trying to set her up with his friends, especially John (Mathew Haviland). How will she tell Ricky that she’s not interested in John? And how will she tell John that she’s not interested in him?

The next day, Maria attempts to confront Dean but instead meets a guy named Vlad. Who the hell is Vlad? And why does he look exactly like Dean? Just what the hell is going on here?

Maria decides to investigate Dean. She can’t find any information on him on social media, so she decides to enter his room when he isn’t there and see what the heck he has in there (she has a key to the room “for emergencies”). Dean (as Dean) catches Maria in his room and decides to put a second lock on his room door. Maria guesses that Dean might be schizophrenic and have multiple personalities. Maria tells Ricky and Lucy and their friend Stew (Kristofer Mikal) about what she found and wants them to help her figure out a way to remove Dean from the house. Before they can all come up with a plan, though, Maria has a date with Kate in her room, the very kind of date she’s been wanting to have for a long, long time.

Suddenly, Dean appears in front of Ricky and Lucy and Stew while brandishing a knife and essentially admitting that, yes, he has multiple personalities, some of them are evil as fuck, and because they’ve discovered his big hooha secret they’re all doomed. And it’s at this point that Maria and Ricky find out that Dean has the house wired with multiple surveillance cameras, he’s been watching them since he moved in, and, again, they’re all goddamn doomed.

It’s amazing how the tone of Roommate Wanted switches at roughly halfway. Before the switch it was a goofy, funny movie with some sinister undertones as you didn’t know what Dean’s deal was. After the switch happens, the movie becomes a sinister endurance test for both the characters and the audience. How are Maria and Ricky and their friends going to avoid becoming victims of Dean’s evil impulses? Dean goes from a strange guy with multiple personalities that don’t seem all that harmful to a full on psychopath. Maria and Ricky are totally unprepared to deal with someone like Dean and their friends aren’t much help, either.

Now, is it a bit hard to believe that Maria and Ricky and their friends don’t gang up on Dean, especially when he shows himself to be a murderer? It is. Even with Ricky and Lucy being pacifists, it’s hard to accept that they wouldn’t try, at least once, to fight back. Dean is an overwhelming personality, but would he be able to take on all of them and defeat them? Again, it’s a bit hard to believe. The movie does end properly, though. The “good guys” don’t hold back for the rest of the movie.

The humor in the first half of the movie is subtle and mostly dialogue driven. Ricky Cruz’s accent, which sounds Australian but, I guess, is actually South African (imdb lists Cruz as being from South Africa), really helps the humor along (you just have to listen to what he says). And Isabella Valotti comes off as incredibly clueless as Ricky’s girlfriend Lucy. The way Maria reacts to what she says is brilliant. I think I would have been fine if the movie has remained a comedy throughout its 90 minute running time. When the horror kicks in, though, director McCartney doesn’t hold back. When characters die in this movie they goddamn die. I mean, when you have Dean kill a character by suffocating them with a pillow and then jamming a knife into that character’s face through the pillow, you know this movie isn’t fucking around. And the first major stabbing scene in the movie? If you’re not absolutely heartbroken by it you’re not paying attention to the movie. It’s so damn sad.

I wish the movie spent a little more time on the layout of the house. Just how many entrances are there to the attic? How do the characters get to the basement? And just how many rooms are in the house? Knowing those things are potentially important to how the movie plays out.

The cast is phenomenal. Angelique Sabrina White is terrific as Maria. Maria is a bit of a nerd and White doesn’t try to hide that. Maria is also smart and studious and careful, which is always uncool in a movie (everyone wants to be the party animal, not the person that makes sure the house’s bills are all paid. Bills are lame). Her chemistry with MJ Garcia is off the charts (they make such a great couple) and I would have loved to see an entire movie just about their relationship.

Ricky Cruz is hilarious as Ricky. He’s a bit of a slob, he’s probably a little too much of a free spirit, but you can’t help but like him. His scenes with Isabella Valotti, who plays his girlfriend Lucy, are cute as hell. They really dig one another, and that’s always cool to see, especially when they fit together so well.

And Jack Shulruff is amazing as Dean. He has to play multiple characters in the same movie, each with their own agendas, and he has to make them all work. Dean needs to be a nice guy; Charlie needs to be a douchebag, and Vlad needs to be a psycho. I’m amazed Shulruff was able to keep track of all of the different personalities he has to play and made them distinct. Shulruff will make you laugh, make you smile, and appall you and wish him a painful death in equal measure as Dean. A brilliant performance.

Roommate Wanted is a horror comedy horror movie nerds are going to want to see. It’s funny, it’s full of thrills, and it’s incredibly entertaining. Is the movie flawed? A bit, yes. But the good outweighs the iffy by a mile, and, as I said, Roommate Wanted is a horror comedy that horror movie nerds are going to want to seek out when it’s released upon the world. It’s awesome.

See Roommate Wanted. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: At least 8.

Explosions: None.

Nudity?: Almost.

Doobage: A rocking chair rocking all by itself, a spider, asthma, a weird hippie singing, a total lack of proper toilet seat etiquette, a discussion about that lack of proper toilet seat etiquette, a sink full of dirty dishes, girl talk, talk about insecurities, an almost lesbian kiss, sensual shoulder biting, a knee tattoo, a dead body, a fucked up lamp, toenail chewing, a montage of totally wrong potential roommates, multiple nightmares, more toilet seat issues, a big hooha Halloween party, a big hooha Halloween party montage, punch drinking, vegetable talk, creepy bathroom behavior, a social media search, a room full of costumes, physical threatening, foreplay, lesbian sex with a total lack of nudity, chest stabbing, suffocation via pillow followed by a knife through the face, face punching, hostages, booze drinking, glass breaking, broken bottle to the neck, face kicking, sleeper hold hooey, back stabbing, attempted conflict resolution via discussing problems, weird singing, gut stabbing, doorbell hooey, off screen body carrying, an emotional breakdown, pissing into a bucket, a forced shower, attempted seduction, food cooking, tennis racket to the face, a fist fight, more gut stabbing, attempted escape, a full on tennis racket beating, a final confrontation, serious chest stabbing, the cops show up, costume stealing, and the prospect of a sequel.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: A nice, eerie opening theme, a lack of proper toilet set etiquette, “musical theater for the hearing impaired,” talk of “sacred spaces” and lava lamps, talk of Don Rickles, “house rules,” multiple nightmares, multiple personalities, a Rear Window homage, a discussion on how hard it is to get a reservation at Linette’s, grilled cheese sandwiches that are cut with the same bloody murder knife the killer killed someone with, “Ricardo is not an actor,” talk of white male rage, and the prospect of a sequel.

Best lines: “Ricky? I need to speak with you,” “I enjoy life,” “I’m a disaster. I have no job. No money. And no idea what I want to study,” “Hey, how about studying something you actually like? Like psychology?,” “Our renter is dead,” “Well, aren’t you the little entrepreneur,” “Namaste,” “You look beautiful when you’re sleeping,” “Are there any normal people left in the world?,” “When it comes to Maria nobody is ever good enough,” “Who’s Zuckerberg? Facebook,” “Who is this beyotch?,” “Well, this is California. Yeah,” “This is great. I love rules. They provide… structure,” “I really don’t need a lecture about my emotional fucking peace. Thank you,” “His name is Dean. That isn’t what he told us,” “Dean, you seem to be having fun,” “Charlie, take it easy,” “What is wrong with you messed up people?,” “Is this one of your emergencies?,” “He’s schizophrenic,” “Kate! He’s filing you through the computer!,” “Free ride’s over,” “You can die from holding in your bowel movements, did you know that?,” “What can I say? This feels like home,” “The guy probably fights like a chicken on PCP,” “We love you,” “Oh, let’s face it. She was a freeloader,” “What’s your game, hot stuff? I heard you were into ladies,” “What’s wrong with you? Don’t tell me you’re a cocktease,” “Fix the goddamn light!,” “I don’t even look at pictures of people I know. Why would I want to look at photographs of people I don’t know?,” “Do you know what it’s like to kill someone and feel their life extinguish by your hand?,” and “I forgive you.”

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Roommate Wanted is a nifty, well-made new horror comedy from writer/director Michael McCartney. Featuring a great cast and a terrific balance of laughs and scares, it’s the kind of movie horror movie nerds will want to seek out when it’s released fully upon the world. It has everything. See it, see it, see it.