Just as a couple rents their extra room out to a stranger, people start showing up dead in the same style as those of the infamous Jack the Ripper in the suspense thriller The Lodger (2009). Hope Davis and Donal Logue are the Buntings who rent their room out to Malcolm (Simon Baker) in the hopes of being able to catch up with their bills as Ellen (Davis) has just spent a good amount of time in a hospital. As her husband struggles to keep them afloat Ellen gets closer to their new tenant Malcolm, who has many secrets of his own.
Alfred Molina stars as Det. Manning who is saddled with a new partner (Shane West) and together they must solve the murders of several women whose deaths mirror those of Jack the Ripper’s victims but as the killer gets closer to finishing his goal Ellen begins to realize that Malcolm may have something to do with the murders and she must discover the truth before it is too late.
Based on the book by Marie Belloc Lowndes, the screenplay is written by David Ondaatje (who also directs). The film does a fine job of trying to draw parallels between Det. Manning’s obsessions and mistakes in the life of the killer’s making for an interesting character based film. What the film lacks is any sense of suspense or impending doom as we don’t get to know the victims very well before they are killed and the film spends a lot of time on Manning’s story whose wife is in a hospital and he is estranged from his daughter.
The Lodger is not a film that strives to be more than it is which is a standard mystery thriller but if you love those types of films then this one is just right for you.