Hot Sara (Minka Kelly) is fresh on campus from Iowa. But her new roomie, Hot Rebecca (Leighton Meester), is an Angelino and is wise to the ways of LA. Rich, friendly and helpful, she’s the kind of girl who’ll pick you up when your friends have ditched you at the club in the middle of the night. She’s just a little clingy, is all.

It remains for Hot Tracy (Aly Michalka) to give the word of warning: “Something is up with your roommate!”

Yeah. If only.

Not much at all is up with “The Roommate,” a timid thriller that manages a couple of mild jolts and a couple of creepy cringe-worthy moments in its variations-on-a-“Single White Female” theme. Yes, this is another horrific tale of roommates gone wrong, with the mousy-voiced Meester (TV’s “Gossip Girl”) menacing the mousier-voiced Kelly (TV’s “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood”). Are you scared yet?

The warning signs are Rebecca’s tendency toward over-protectiveness. She wants to know where Sara is at all hours, expects her to call and punishes her “Girls Gone Wild” pal Tracy when she’s up too late. That seriously cramps Sara’s style with frat-boy drummer Hot Steven (Can Gigandet).

Yes, at ULA, they all matriculate in hotness. And in Sara’s case, fashion design, where Billy Zane is her Intro to Design professor, a bit of casting that lets us know exactly where that will lead.

Rebecca absorbs Sara’s tastes and starts solving Sara’s “problems” for her. Bad influence Tracy is terrorized in the shower, ex-boyfriend Jason is dismissed by phone, creepy design professor gets his comeuppance.

It’ll all lead to tears, we just know it.

Danish director Christian E. Christiansen does nothing remotely chilling with the visuals or the tempo, so the movie leans heavily on John Frizzell’s strident, string-heavy score. Even efforts at playing the titillation game with his stars feel meek and PG. Producer (“The Lake House,” “Shutter”) turned screenwriter Sonny Mallhi apparently didn’t crib any tricks of the trade from writers he’s worked with in the past.

And Meester and Kelly fail to fire up the tension as Rebecca turns weirder and Sara, in between costume changes, begins to sense something is up. Neither Rebecca’s madness nor Sara’s alarm at it have suspense, urgency or anything near the amperage to make “The Roommate” set off sparks.


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