Besides offering up one of the more redundant movie titles in recent history, “Single White Female 2: The Psycho” is run-of-the-mill, below average stuff. It’s not even in the league of the so-called “erotic thrillers” of the ’90s and early ’00s, and we all know those films tried to steer clear of quality in lieu of gratuitous T&A as much as possible. What makes “SWF 2” untenable, as a viable movie or as a cheap thrill, is that it has the look and feel of a Lifetime Original Movie with some mild nudity (a tiny peek at a body double’s nipples!) thrown in for, one suspects, a futile attempt to live up to its predecessor’s infamous content.
The direct-to-video sequel stars redhead Kristen Miller as Holly, a PR woman locked in a vicious battle with roommate and co-worker Jan (former “Baywatch”-er Brooke Burns) for a promotion. Proceeding like one of those aforementioned Lifetime Original Movies, in short order Jan has slept with Holly’s boyfriend, Holly moves out, and after meeting the requisite list of “eccentric” potential roommates, Holly finally moves in with psycho Tess (Allison Lange). We know Tess is a psycho because, well, this is the sequel to “Single White Female”, which was about a psycho roommate. Plus, the film is called “Single White Female 2: The Psycho”, which once again reminds you that whoever came up with the title is a mullet head of epic proportions.
You may know leading lady Miller from her role in the TV action/comedy show “She Spies”, where she plays a ditzy blonde, or perhaps in an early role as the Fair Hair Lead in the German slasher film “The Pool”. Here, Miller embraces her role as the Pretty but Sweet Roommate, whose wardrobe is exclusively “Sex and the City” chic. Like the film, Miller is all tease and no follow-through, including the aforementioned body double for the nipple peek-a-boo early in the film. It’s ridiculous the number of times the director has Miller bend over to grace the screen with her generous cleavage (hello bustiers and wonder bras!).
As the roommate with “crazy as hell” stamped on her forehead, Allison Lange — well, she certainly looks the part. The actress has that crazy vibe down from frame one, and the film barely waits a few seconds before unleashing the crazy in her upon her new roommate. And of course by “barely waits” I mean they wait until almost an hour into the film before blood is even spilt. Actually, once Lange’s character dyes her hair red in an attempt to copy her roomy, the actress looks a lot like Kirsten Dunst — only taller and not insanely happy all the time, just insane. It’s too bad nothing ever happens in the film until the very end, even if director Keith Samples keeps amping up the “suspense soundtrack” everytime the two roomies are in the same scene together.
Former “Baywatch”-er Brooke Burns is obviously having a ball playing the slutty Jan, the kind of hot to trot bitch that will do anything to win that oft-mention promotion. Like the number of times Kristen Miller is required to show cleavage and bend over, the number of times Jan and Holly mentions that promotion they’re both going for is ridiculous. Okay, okay, we get it, you’re both highly successful, career-minded woman, and you desperately want that promotion. Now shut up and have sex already. The film’s biggest stab at erotica is a would-be lesbian encounter between Miller and Lange that goes nowhere fast. Talk about a tease.
Although an overall dreadful movie in every respect, some brownie points should be given to the writers, who do make a minor attempt to toss some “in” jokes at people who already knows that the supposedly mild roommate is actually a psycho as per the original film. When they’re moving a heavy chest into the apartment, the Psycho Roommate remarks, “What do you have in here, a body?” And earlier, after Holly relates her tale of boyfriend intrigue and betrayal, the psycho offers up, “I’d have killed him.” And so on and so forth. There’s even an attempt at some kind of plot twist toward the end. Mind you, it’s not that I can’t figure out what the “twist” is that the writers are going for, it’s just that I don’t care.
“Single White Female 2: The Psycho” is such a vanilla effort that it’s hard to imagine just what audience the film was targeted at. The original was an A-list movie that came out over 13 years ago, and despite having a named cast, it was the film’s sexually daring and deadly content that drew in viewers. The sequel, despite having been released without the constraints of a theatrical release, can’t even be bothered to touch the envelope, much less make an attempt to push it.
If anything, “The Psycho” is a retread of the original. Not a surprise, considering that two of the film’s writers, Ross Helford and Andy Hurst, are the “brains” behind the two “Wild Things” direct-to-video sequels, two movies that basically copied the original’s formula to a T without bothering with anything as pesky as originality. I guess if you just want to copy a movie, plot-by-plot, just call Andy and Ross, and they’ll copy the original for you and change the names accordingly. It’s nice work if you can get it.
Keith Samples (director) / J.S. Cardone, Ross Helford, Andy Hurst (screenplay)
CAST: Kristen Miller …. Holly Parker
Allison Lange …. Tess Kositch
Todd Babcock …. David Kray
Brooke Burns …. Jan Lambert