Plot: Allison (Bridget Fonda) was engaged and soon to be married to the man she thought was her soulmate, only to discover he was cheating on her, so she finds herself single and alone in a large apartment. This prompts her to place an ad for a roommate, but most of the applicants are less than desirable and her hopes sink, until Hedra (Jennifer Jason Leigh) arrives. She is soft spoken, kind, and seems to mesh well with Allison, so she soon moves in and the two become fast friends, with Hedra impressed with Allison’s every move. Things go well until Allison’s attentions start to drift to other areas of her life, from her work to the reappearance of her fiance, Sam (Steven Weber), who wants to rekindle. When she feels Allison pulling away, Hedra begins to show signs that perhaps she isn’t as shy and kind as she appeared…
Entertainment Value: This is a fun one, a classic of the stalker genre that feels like a Lifetime thriller amped up to big screen cinematic levels, with melodrama, obsession, and a memorable femme fatale. The narrative doesn’t break new ground, but it is lean and efficient, while the performances help balance out the predictable elements. I don’t mean to knock the story, as it might be predictable, but it works and does what it needs to do, which is unleash Jennifer Jason Leigh’s stalker side. So there are no surprises or twists to be found in Single White Female, but the movie doesn’t suffer much as a result, as the experience is so well crafted and polished. The tone is serious, so despite the melodrama and some over the top moments, the movie remains an effective thriller with some solid atmosphere and tension. The cast is one reason the film works so well, with Bridget Fonda in fine form as the victim and Jennifer Jason Leigh stealing the show as the stalker. She is given some good chances to dial up as the villain, but again, the serious tone keeps her reeled in somewhat. Steven Weber is also fun as the douche boyfriend, while Stephen Tobolowsky is hilarious as the creeper, so this is a good cast that showed up to perform.
This movie has both of the lead actresses in frequent nude scenes, so there’s a good amount of topless moments, bare asses, and even a brief full frontal peek. The sex scenes aren’t graphic by any means, but Single White Female isn’t shy about the naked flesh, so there is some solid sleaze here. The film has some bursts of violence, but not much bloodshed is seen, though a couple of the scenes do have memorable touches. I think the highlight has to be a high heel to the eye socket, which isn’t shown in detail, but we can see the aftermath. A creative, fun kill that adds to the craziness, even if it isn’t shown in full, graphic fashion. A throat cut has a nice closeup with some blood, a puppy is thrown out of a window, and some mild violence unfolds, including the inevitable showdown between our feisty females. The serious tone limits the wilder side of the dialogue, but a few fun exchanges pop up. I do wish Hedra was given more of a chance to go batshit crazy, but she is still a fun character to watch unravel. As for the general craziness here, the stalker angle is a good time, despite it being restrained at times and never going for broke. Hedra’s wackiness adds to the score, as do some of the more memorable touches of violence. So perhaps not as unhinged as some thrillers out there, but a few nice sparks of madness surface.
Overall Insanity: 2/10
The Disc: Scream Factory’s Blu-ray presentation might not turn heads, but it looks solid and shows no real concerns. The image is clean and clear, with rock solid detail and natural colors throughout. Not a revelation, but a step up from the DVD version, so fans should appreciate the uptick. The extras from previous releases are ported over, with director Barbet Schroeder present for two audio commentary tracks, one with a couple of the actors and the screenwriter, the other with several members of the production team. These tracks provide a good blend of perspectives and that helps shed light on the production from multiple angles. The film’s trailer is also included.