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The Lodger (2009)

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A couple rents out a room to a mysterious young man, who may or may not be guilty of a series of grisly neighborhood murders.



(screenplay), (book)
1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chandler Manning
Dr. Jessica Westmin
Sam (as Francois Chau)
Bruce Lester
Dr. Stevens
Rachel Madison
David Storrs ...
Warehouse Attendant


The tale of a serial killer in West Hollywood has two converging plot lines. The first involves an uneasy relationship between a psychologically unstable landlady and her enigmatic lodger; the second is about a troubled detective engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with the elusive killer, who is imitating the crimes of Jack the Ripper. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Everyone Is Suspect

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent content, language and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

14 January 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A titokzatos lakó  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs




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Did You Know?


It stated that Liz Stride and Catharine Eddowes were both murdered in Mitre Square on the same night in 1888. They were both killed on the same night but only Eddowes was murdered in Mitre Square whereas Stride was killed in Berner Street. See more »


[first lines]
Street Wilkenson: Detective.
Chandler Manning: Wilkenson, right?
See more »


References Blackmail (1929) See more »


Di Notte
Performed by Sasha Lazard
Music by John Frizzell
Lyrics by Saverio Principini
Produced by John Frizzell
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Overplotted, but otherwise solid mystery
13 January 2010 | by See all my reviews

Serial killers will always be popular because there is a human fascination with the lurid, the sexual and the violent. They epitomize fear, and when making a movie about a copycat serial killer, who better to imitate than the most notorious serial killer of all time, Jack the Ripper? "The Lodger" represents the fourth version of the book by Marie Belloc Lowndes, including one directed by Alfred Hitchcock himself. Although it's nowhere near as good as anything the Master of Suspense put out, it is nonetheless an engaging and twisty mystery.

There are two stories that are at the center of the film, and as the story goes on, they become entwined. First is the story of two detectives, Chandler Manning (Alfred Molina) and Street Wilkensen (Shane West) who are on the trail of a killer who is imitating Jack the Ripper in West Hollwood. Second is the story of a landlady, Ellen Bunting (Hope Davis) who is curious about her new tenant, the attractive but aloof Malcolm (Simon Baker). There are a few subplots thrown in for good measure, but really, these are the only ones that matter.

Actually, that's the film's biggest problem. Writer/director David Ondaatje pads the film out, particularly in the first hour. While this helps camouflage the story's red herrings, the subject matter he includes is rather dull. The soundtrack is also uneven. For the most part, it's a solid and effective homage to the creepy music that one always finds in these sorts of movies. However, there are times when it doesn't work, and instead becomes, of all things, melodramatic! The acting is good all around, though. The cast is predominantly made up of character actors on the edge of stardom. Alfred Molina has worked his way up the ladder for the past 25 years, and is just now earning the top-billing he so justly deserves. Manning is a hard boiled detective with a temper. Molina is no Sam Spade, but I'm glad that the producers took a chance on casting an unusual choice, because Molina is always interesting. His co-star, Shane West, tries to shed his bad-boy image, and while no standout, he's not bad. Indie film favorite Hope Davis is also making headway into mainstream fare, and she's terrific as the mousy Ellen. This was clearly a chance for Simon Baker to cash in on his popularity from his show, "The Mentalist." I haven't seen that, but he caught my attention in the underrated "The Affair of the Necklace." Baker is excellent as the seductive lodger; we can see his soft-spoken charm, but there is always an aura of danger around him, and we can never fully trust him. Also on hand are the always reliable Philip Baker Hall, Rebecca Pigeon (aka Mrs. David Mamet) and Donal Logue (who, like West, is an ER alum). Hall and Pigeon are solid, if underused, but Logue is flat as Ellen's jerk husband.

The film is always interesting to look at. Most noirs of this ilk used black and white film to their advantage, but this is 2009, and the film has to make money (which is surprising coming from an indie film). However, Ondaatje uses the color to his advantage. The noir feeling is still there, but it has an interesting feeling of warmth. And I loved how he and his cinematographer David A. Armstrong filmed the rain; it's just like the golden oldies.

It may not be Hitchcock, but this mystery is still pretty good. We don't know the true identity of the killer until the end, and while there are two main suspects, we also know that we can't rule anyone else out either, which makes things more interesting. And for a movie with no CGI, it's always interesting to look at. And watch.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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why should i rent this? eyebleed
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