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A Good Surprise
claudio_carvalho28 July 2010
When a prostitute is found slain in West Hollywood, the veteran Detective Chandler Manning (Alfred Molina) investigates the case with his rookie partner Street Wilkenson (Shane West). Manning is facing a domestic problem with his wife that had had a nervous breakdown and is interned in an institution and his daughter that blames him for the situation of her mother. Meanwhile, the unstable and disturbed housewife Ellen Bunting (Hope Davis) and her frequently absent husband Bunting (Donal Logue) are facing financial problems and need to rent a guest house in the backyard. When the mysterious writer Malcolm Slaight (Simon Baker) rents the house, Bunting never sees the lodger and believes his wife is fabricating the tenant and her family has given the money to them. When a second hooker is found dead on the street, Manning concludes that the killer is copycatting the crimes of Jack the Ripper and is the same serial-killer that had murdered other streetwalkers seven years ago. Further, he concludes that the criminal Alonzo Rodriguez was wrongly sentenced to death for the murders.

When I decided to watch "The Lodger", my expectation was low and I expected to see a conventional thriller full of clichés. Fortunately I was wrong and I had a great surprise. This low-budget film has a good story and screenplay that keeps the mystery until the very last scene. There are subplots only to create diversion to the viewer and keep the mystery of the identity of the killer. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "O Inquilino" ("The Lodger")
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Dreadful murders committed by Jack the Ripper-alike terrorize Hollywood neighborhood
ma-cortes7 June 2010
Tense film about murders with thrills, chills , suspense and an amazing final . This intriguing and exciting story is based on a successful novel and it deal with a serial killer in L . A . executing his crimes like Jack the Ripper . An enigmatic lodger ( Simon Baker ) living in a Guesthouse whose owners are a grumpy security guard ( Donald Logue ) and his wife ( Hope Davis ), booth of them involved an uneasy relationship . Meanwhile two detectives are investigating a series of grisly neighborhood murders , a veteran Detective ( Alfred Molina ) and a rookie (Shane West).

This is a thrilling story about astonishing murders in West Hollywood whose elusive killer is imitating to Jack the Ripper , it has two converging plot lines with various suspects and red herrings . Story's core is interesting and script is dense with information and drama . Good performance by Hope Davis as the psychologically unstable landlady . Excellent Alfred Molina as troubled Inspector engaged in a cat-and-mouse game and fine Simon Baker as suspect lodger who may or may not be guilty of a series of gruesome killings. The picture is packed with an adequate musical score by John Frizzel and colorful cinematography by David Armstrong . The motion picture is professionally directed by David Ondaatje .

The Jack the Ripper character has been adapted on several occasions for cinema from the silent as ¨Pandora's box (1929) ¨ , multiple versions of ¨Lulu ¨ a prostitute killed by Jack , ¨ From hell (2001) ¨ played by Ian Holm and for TV in which appears as character in numerous series as ¨Jack the Ripper (1988)¨ played by Ray McNally and recently in ¨Sanctuary ¨ played by Christopher Heyerdahl .
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Decent Version of the Familiar Story
Michael_Elliott1 September 2012
The Lodger (2009)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Yet another remake of Alfred Hitchcock's 1927 film but this one is set in current day Los Angeles where a maniac is killing hookers. While a detective (Alfred Molina) tries to solve the case, an unhappily married woman (Hope Davis) rents her guest house to a mysterious writer (Simon Baker). One could argue that we really didn't need yet another version of this story but I think they did enough interesting things here to make this version worth watching. I think it falls well short of the 1927 and 1944 versions but I did like a few of the changes they did here. Setting the story in current times allows the filmmakers to use stuff like DNA and other scientific things to try to solve the cases. It also helps that the filmmakers are able to use the Jack the Ripper sideline as someone trying to copy his murders. I will say that the final ten minutes of the movie are without question the best thing in the film because it offers up a couple very nice twists that actually work. I'm certainly not going to give them away but I enjoyed them very much. The performances are also another major plus as Molina is excellent as the detective obsessed with solving the case. Shane West is good as his partner and Philip Baker Hall is also strong as the police chief. Rachel Leigh Cook plays the detective's daughter in a small role. Both Davis and Baker are also good in their portion of the story. I think some of the attempted style is a bit overdone and especially the scenes showing the L.A. freeways. I think less would have been a bit more in regards to the style thrown in by the director. Still, fans of the story will probably want to check this one out and while it's not a complete success it's at least good enough to be worth watching.
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Not so bad...but not so good either
Ed-Shullivan15 November 2013
I will say that The Lodger kept my attention to the very end and that I was pleasantly surprised by the ending. But most of the story line in the middle was your typical old crime mystery.

Simon Baker plays a mysterious and quirky good looking stranger who knocks on Hope Davis's door in answer to an add for a ROOM FOR RENT sign. Of course Hope Davis takes Simon's cash advance of three months rent and accepts the good lucking Simon Baker as her new tenant.

The mutilated murders of streetwalkers start appearing in a similar fashion of the murders that took place seven years earlier. These previous murders were thought to have ended when Detective Chandler Manning played by Alfred Molina arrested the presumed guilty suspect that was put to death seven years earlier. Now the movie viewers realize that Detective Chandler (Alfred Molina) put away the wrong guy for the crimes.

So the viewers have a few suspects to consider who may be committing these recent murders of streetwalkers that appear to be duplicating the documented murders of the notorious Jack the Ripper. I was not impressed with Alfred Molina's performance as the lead detective Chandler Manning. What kept my interest in the film was the interactions between the lonely and disturbed performance of the landlord played by Hope Davis and her new lodger played quite well by Simon Baker.

Of course no suspense film is complete unless the lead detective is suspended from his position in the biggest case in Los Angeles history for his inability to solve the case. Will he be vindicated? Well for me I just did not feel Alfred Molina was convincing enough as the dejected lead detective, whose daughter and wife were also turning their back on their father and husband respectively.

Without spoiling the ending I will say that I found the ending to have a few twists in it that I expected and some twists that I was not expecting. I rated the film a 5 out of 10 because the plot was generally predictable and Alfred Molina's performance as the lead detective a bit disappointing. If not for a strong performance by Hope Davis and Simon Baker the film would have my thumbs down. I give THE LODGER one thumb UP!
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Overplotted, but otherwise solid mystery
moviesleuth213 January 2010
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.
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Will keep your attention and guessing until the end
SJinSeaTac27 January 2009
This I have to admit is a very B-movie. If it were not for the actors in it I wouldn't even call it a C-movie. However the storyline is very engaging. I wouldn't dare compare it to any other movie however and most of the critics have already slammed it because "Hitchcock's version was better" (although this movie has been made by several others as well).

The director has done a fairly good job with the budget he has and has made some very good decisions at least in casting the actors in their roles. The movie is mostly a "copycat" film, but the concepts are still the same. Obviously it is not possible to follow the storyline of "jack the ripper has left England and is now in the United States" as in the original Lodger story because it is now 2009, which in the end doesn't really help or hurt the film at all. It was also nice to see Rebecca Pidgeon in a film again although her character is mostly just thrown in to "tie" the ending together in a "Psycho-esque" kind of way. Donal Logue seems like the typical husband who doesn't SEEM to understand his wife, played by Hope Davis, who may or may not be imagining things. And finally Alfred Molina is basically cast as himself, stubborn, difficult, and determined.

Everyone is a suspect and Ondaatje does a very good job keeping the pace while switching seamlessly between the detectives investigating and the Bunting residence where "The Lodger" is. However, whether or not you feel "cheated" by the end of the film is up to you. I however was not very surprised by the modern day twists that are thrown at the audience in the end. Definitely worth seeing in the theater if you can.
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Not really a remake, but a pretty good thriller...
Indyrod13 June 2009
This is not really a remake of the previous movies concerning a mysterious lodger at an Inn that might be Jack the Ripper. This takes place in modern Los Angeles, and concerns a couple that need to rent their guest house, and the Wife (Hope Davis) rents to a mysterious stranger that might be responsible for a series of Jack the Ripper type murders occurring. Alfred Molina is the detective in charge of the murders who brought a suspect to court 7 years earlier, who was then executed for similar murders, but now the murders appear to be exactly the same as the executed guy. In fact, as the investigation goes on, the killer is following exactly the Jack the Ripper killings. This is a good one, the whole premise is very interesting, especially to fans of Jack the Ripper movies. Simon Baker plays the mysterious lodger, but then again, nobody has seen him except the Wife, and when an investigation takes place, developments dictate, everything is not as it suggests. Good mystery, check this one out.
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The best "lodger" mystery since Wallace & Gromit and The Wrong Trousers!
Anonymous_Maxine1 March 2009
I have an undying love of true crime movies. There is something automatically fascinating about a disturbing story of true crime when there is the added effect that it is at least loosely based on real events. It's one of the most important things that makes me love movies like Zodiac or In Cold Blood or Dog Day Afternoon or even Silence of the Lambs, even though the real life element of that one is, ah, a little less specific. The Lodger, as you know, was Alfred Hitchcock's first major film, made in 1927, well before sound. The new Lodger has a tough time justifying itself, but it is not entirely without effect.

The movie tells the story of a mysterious recurrence of Jack-the-Ripper-style murders, although it takes the crimes out of the London fog and replaces it on the wet streets of Los Angeles. A series of brutal prostitute murders have been determined to be exact replicas of very specific Ripper murders, even positioning the bodies the same places and making similar efforts in geography. Complicating matters is the fact that a man has already been jailed and executed for the murders, which unfortunately start happening again.

Meanwhile, an unhappy housewife across town is routinely abandoned by her deadbeat husband, who repeatedly tells her basically to take her medication and leave him alone, and by the way, why can't she make herself useful and find a lodger for that old shed in the backyard. Money doesn't grow on trees, woman.

She does find a lodger, one who acts sufficiently mysterious and suspicious, and for a while the movie turns into your standard murder mystery thriller, although I was glad to see the addition in the third act of the clouding issue of an unstable mind. It's a story-telling technique that is very easy to screw up, but when it's used right it can add a whole different experience to an otherwise straight-forward and uninteresting story.

It is not used here as well as I've seen it used before (at least in originality), but it's true that it adds a much-needed extra layer to an otherwise insufficient story. Unfortunately, because the rest of the movie is a murder mystery the style of which is far too familiar by now, the instability idea seems like an effort to add something to an otherwise weak movie, and it's just not enough to make the movie at all memorable. In fact, some moviegoers will find it outwardly laughable.

Alfred Molina plays a detective who is striving to solve the case, although I would expect an actor of his caliber to be spending his time on better movies than this. Unfortunately, despite his performance and a number of other mildly impressive roles, the movie is also peppered with horrible acting and ridiculously badly written characters.

The lodger himself, first of all, is of the variety that acts extremely suspicious in ways that could only possibly happen if he were really the killer. When the wife accidentally discovers him burning clothing in the barbecue, he calmly explains that he was just trying to dry them. In a good mystery, perfectly normal behavior is made to be suspicious by the context of other actions, the music, the performances, etc.

Who the hell dries pants on a barbecue?

There is also the issue of a psychologist who analyzes the police's evidence about the mysterious killer, and offers an explanation that is little more than a lot of wordy nonsense that sounds like it was thrown together by a Psychology undergrad at UCLA with no other purpose than to sound impressive. Sadly, it doesn't. The ex-wife of Molina's character is also a mental case herself who, for reasons that I won't reveal, is unable to stand the sight of her husband. When she does at one point in the film, she descends into a hysterical fit of screaming which, had it gone on for about another three seconds, would have been enough for me to give up and fling the DVD out the window.

But the movie's biggest problem is that it comes off as a standard mystery, the first half of which is designed to show why everyone is a suspect and the second half designed to deliver a thrilling finale that, when it comes, just isn't all that thrilling. The murder investigation is full of movie-miracles (like a footprint which is leaked to the press and printed "actual size" on the front page of the newspaper) but the real letdown doesn't come until the final scene, lifted directly out of Psycho and full of psychobabble nonsense. And the psychologist's analysis, believe it or not, takes place before the actual arrest. Fastest mental analysis ever!! But it's not so much that the psychological explanation doesn't make sense as much as the fact that the reasons given may send your palm(s) flying rapidly to your forehead. So be advised
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The director David Ondaatje made a rare rereading of Jack the Ripper !!!
elo-equipamentos15 January 2021
Jack the Ripper continues yielding many remakes and related fictional movies like this, are countless until now and growing, The Lodger is based on the book of Marie Belloc Lowndes who wrote it in 1913 exposing an alleged theory that a London's landlady had rent a room to heinous serial killer, who already had took to the large screen by the master Hitchcock in 1927 as silent movie, upon this premise the director David Ondaatje built up an intricate and so complex screenplay to translate to Los Angeles's district nowadays the newest Jack the Ripper, stuffed of sterling actors as the British Alfred Molina, the pretty Hope Davis, the veteran Philip Baker Hall, the newbie Shane West and the Australian Simon Baker as the Lodger, it's a thriller movie, just displaying the misdeeds in succinct way, few drops of blood are shown implicitly, the modus operandi also follows the steps in chronological order of British Slasher at small district West Hollywood whereby has a sameness of the Whitechapel Londoner, starting with Ellen Bunting (Hope Davis) and his drunkard odd husband Bunting (Donal Logue), due they have financial problems she rents an outside room to the smooth outsider Malcolm (Simon Baker) who require strict privacy, meantime appears many butchered corpses of prostitutes on the district, the Inspector Chandler Manning (Alfred Molina) in charge of the inquiry who had in the past a resembling case, meanwhile Ellen has been involved sexually with the young Lodger, his bad temper husband also has a suspicious behavior as well, then the smart director puts several potential suspects including the weird Inspector Chandler Manning, who are in trouble with his wife on collapse breakdown at hospital in recovery, calls attention of his newcomer partner Street Wilkenson (Shane West), scored by a splendorous opera music the movie flows easy, by the way utterly underrated !!

Thanks for reading.


First watch: 2021 / How many: 1 / Source: DVD / Rating: 7.25
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chrichtonsworld25 February 2009
It could be that I missed something and that I need to re watch this movie. But honestly I already know that I won't do it. "The Lodger" is not a bad movie. It has just enough to make it interesting. A good cast,great cinematography and another take on the Jack the Ripper mythos. Only it suffers greatly from the lack of real suspense and tension. The mystery is there. There are several questions raised you want to be answered. The fact that only a fraction of those questions get explained make it a frustrating affair. Misdirection is a tool often used in thrillers in order to surprise us. And I must admit that the movie does promise a wonderful twist. However the twist is set up in such a way that it leaves too much room for different interpretations which destroys the desired effect. You won't be shocked or surprised,maybe a little bit confused. And such an ending could have been forgiven had the movie been fun to watch. "The Lodger" takes it self so seriously that it undermines the efforts of the cast to make this movie more interesting than it is. At one point you just know how events will play out. The lack of tension,humor and drama only are compensated by your drive to solve the mystery. And the hope that the director succeeded in fooling us in creating one big surprise at the end. But when the credits start to roll you can't shake the feeling that you wasted your time.
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Okay for television
deloudelouvain18 May 2016
I would say The Lodger is a good mystery/thriller but only for television. Just relax in front of the telly and try to figure out what is happening. I thought I had it figured out after twenty minutes but I was wrong and that is what I like about mystery/thrillers. The actors are okay in their roles. They might not be the best actors ever but they are certainly worth a watch. There are enough turns and twists to keep you guessing in what's going on. Some people might think there are too many but I thought it was fine. I was only a bit disappointed at the end. I thought it was just a bit too confusing. But other then that The Lodger is an okay movie to watch once or if you have nothing else to do.
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Leofwine_draca19 October 2013
Unfortunately THE LODGER is one of those films which loses me from the outset thanks to the all-too-glossy "look" and feel. Given the nature of the subject matter this should be a production crying out for grim and gritty styling, but instead this has a slick sheen of the kind seen in US TV shows like CSI.

In addiction, the story is nothing to write home about, despite the promise inherent in the premise. It's an erstwhile remake of the silent Hitchcock movie of the same name, presented in the modern day, with two seemingly separate plot strands: weary detectives are tracking a modern day Jack the Ripper, while a houseowner gets to grips with her mysterious new tenant.

Sadly, the detective plot is superficial and largely uninteresting, purely because it's so hackneyed; even a solid actor like Alfred Molina can do little with the material, which I found boring more than anything else. Meanwhile, the 'tenant' plot is equally lame, having been done to death in many a 1990s-era psycho-thriller, and the characters are so underwritten as to be cardboard.

Lame attempts to build mystery are all too familiar and the double-twist ending is predictable in the extreme. Sadly, there are all too many of these middle-of-the-road thrillers churned out by Hollywood; they contain zero memorable material yet at the same time aren't bad enough to stay in the memory for the wrong reasons. They're just insipid and entirely forgettable.
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Ruined by the director
grantss27 March 2021
Decent plot and good cast, on paper, totally negated by incompetent directing. Camera angles are all over the place, suspense music is overdone, leaving no suspense. Cast is made to look like a bunch of amateurs.

Ends up looking like your usual cliched slasher-thriller.
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Derivative neo-noir, stiff and uninventive, but watchable
Samiam311 August 2010
As a neo-noir, The Lodger is pretty familiar material, but If I'll remember it for anything, (and that's a big 'if') it would be the body count, which is among the highest of anything I've seen in this genre. The story concerns an LAPD detective in search of a killer recreating JAck the Ripper's legacy.

I'll give the Lodger a bit of credit for its ability to keep you guessing, but that's just about all that the film is committed to doing. The story is shallow, and much of the dialogue sounds recycled. The acting isn't very good either, and screen time which should have been spent on more intellectual character interaction is wasted on unnecessary montages of time-lapse photography which looks like something from television.

Overall, the movie is watchable, but it could've amounted to more.
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Great up to date Jack The Ripper.
jfneon197013 May 2020
This is a great Ripper movie. It intertwines the original ripper with a modern Ripper. The original Lodger was a Alfred Hitchcock movie.
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"The Lodger" but not as we know it
tomsview20 August 2014
Writer director, David Ondaatje puts a new spin on the Marie Belloc Lowndes' story, which has been filmed a number of times before, most notably by Alfred Hitchcock and John Brahm.

Although the basics are there, the story has shifted to modern day West Hollywood, which is in the grip of a serial killer emulating the Ripper killings of 1880's London. When a lodger, (Simon Baker) rents a secluded room from a couple, Ellen and Joe Bunting (Hope Davis and Donal Logue), near where the killings have taken place, our suspicions immediately fall on him.

However the movie shifts the suspect focus around. Chandler Manning (Alfred Molina), the detective who investigates the case, has a few secrets of his own, as do the Buntings. As the murders keep happening, Ellen Bunting becomes dangerously attracted to the lodger. Ondaatje brings a psychological twist to this retelling because we are never sure if Ellen is merely imagining the lodger. The film has a surprise ending - clever, but maybe a little too clever.

The film updates the story; we didn't need a straight remake - Hitchcock's silent version did it well with that famous glass ceiling shot of the lodger pacing his room, and John Brahm did a classy job with the 1940's remake starring Laird Cregar. Another period piece just wouldn't have cut it.

Although the movie works pretty well for the most part, and is made with care, Ondaatje overdoes the Hitchcock homage - it didn't need it. Surely we are past the point, thanks to Brian De Palma and others, where deliberate references to the Hitchcock touch are remotely fresh or novel. Here we have the telescoping camera technique from "Vertigo", the emphasis on the word knife from 1929's "Blackmail", and at least half-a-dozen others. They are in-jokes that detract from the story.

Simon Baker brings some of his "Mentalist" charm to the role and is a disarming villain - if he is indeed the villain. Alfred Molina and Hope Davis deliver powerful performances: he as the conflicted detective, and she as the conflicted wife of a husband who also seems to have another side to his character.

The performances save the film. The lodger works well enough for what it is, but I don't think there is much danger of it replacing the Hitchcock or Brahm versions in the memory of anyone who has seen them.
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deedles492 March 2019
I have seen a lot of crime movies in my life. This is, hands down the worst. No script, no plot, horrible acting, worse editing. Don't bother.
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