Total Stranger (1999) Lindsay Crouse, Zoe McLellan, Dan Lauria, Jay Thomas, Jay Paulson Movie Review

Total Stranger (1999)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Lindsay Crouse in Total Stranger (1999)

A Lunatic Lodger

Patti Young (Lindsay Crouse - Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder) has decided that with her estranged husband moving on and her daughter having gone off to college she should take in a lodger as not only will the company be nice but so will the extra income. It is how Lara Lipski Lewis (Zoe McLellan - Deadly Honeymoon) comes to move in as having gone to the police after fleeing from her last home in fear she is in need of new place to stay. But whilst initially things are great with Lara seeming to be the perfect lodger she ends up acting strange causing Patti to become increasingly concerned for her own safety.

Warning this review contains spoilers so you know what to do if you don't want to know what happens. Now "Total Stranger" starts with Lara fleeing from her home after the door to the bathroom is smashed in whilst she is in it. It leads to her going to the police where she is given help when it comes to dealing with crazed stalkers. It of course leads us to believe she is a victim and needs some where else to live. Well before the first 30 minutes is over we discover that Lara is in fact trouble and starts making Patti's life a misery with her unable to do anything as the lease Lara signed is not tight enough. Unfortunately what that means is that for the next 60 minutes it is all about Lara making Patti's life a misery with Lara knowing her rights in such a way that she can act threatening.

Unfortunately whilst Zoe McLellan does a nice job of acting threatening as well as crazy and Lindsay Crouse does an equally nice job of playing the frustrated home owner there needed to be some thing more to make "Total Stranger" not toally ordinary. Of course there is the basic horror of how a tenant can have such power but there needed to be more, more mystery and developments beyond Lara becoming increasingly deranged and dangerous whilst discovering the truth about her tenant.

What this all boils down to is that "Total Stranger" is an okay movie because of the basic idea of a creative tenant making a home owner's life a misery is a powerful one. But there needed to be more to the movie than just this and as such after a while you find yourself drifting because psychotic behaviour is not enough even though some of the things Lara does are quite unnerving.