Jacks back, more or less, in The Lodger
, a cleverly-plotted thriller-cum-horror story sporting a good cast and a nicely ominous vibe throughout. When Los Angeles Detective Chandler Manning (Alfred Molina) arrives at the scene of a prostitutes grisly murder, the clues look awfully familiar. Seven years earlier, Manning had helped send to Death Row a killer whose M.O. was identical not only to this one, but also to that of the notorious Jack the Ripper, who terrorized 19th-century London but was never identified, let alone caught. Is this new monster, who goes on to kill several more defenseless hookers, a copycat? Or could it mean that the wrong man paid the ultimate price for the earlier crimes? Meanwhile, Joe and Ellen Bunting (Donal Logue and Hope Davis) rent out a room to a "writer" named Malcolm (Simon Baker), whose weird habits make him an obvious suspect. But there are several others as well, including Joe, who works as a security guard while Ellen nurses her active and rather twisted imagination, and even Det. Manning, a loose cannon type who may be a Jack the Ripper authority but whose life is a mess, what with an institutionalized wife and a daughter who blames him for her mothers affliction. Adapted from a novel by Marie Belloc Lowndes, this tale was turned into a silent film by Alfred Hitchcock way back in 1927 and has been remade several times since. No one will confuse David Ondaatje, who wrote and directed this version, with Hitchcock, and those familiar with the genre will have little trouble predicting how it all turns out. Nonetheless, The Lodger
is a good ride, guilty pleasure or not. --Sam Graham
Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2), Hope Davis (About Schmidt), Shane West (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and Simon Baker (TV's "The Mentalist") star in this terrifying thriller. THE LODGER follows a seasoned detective on the trail of a ruthless killer intent on slaughtering prostitutes along West Hollywood's Sunset Strip. It appears that the murderer's grisly methods are identical to that of London's infamous 19th century psychopath Jack the Ripper - a relentless serial killer who was never caught by police. To make matters worse, the detective soon notices the parallels between the crimes committed by the West Hollywood stalker and those of a serial murderer incarcerated years ago. Could the wrong man be behind bars? Also starring Rachael Leigh Cook (Nancy Drew).