The early Nineties were the era of the psycho thriller, particularly those of the sexually charged variety. One of the most well-known films of that genre was Single White Female, directed by Oscar nominee Barbet Schroeder (Reversal of Fortune, Barfly).
Adapted from John Lutz’s novel “SWF Seeks Same,” Single White Female starred Bridget Fonda (Allie) and Jennifer Jason Leigh (Hedy), and they’re both incredible here. As it goes, Allie’s husband-to-be Sam (Steven Weber) has cheated on her with his ex-wife and she can’t bear to be around him. She kicks him out of her unbelievably spacious, rent-controlled New York City apartment in The Ansonia building (it gives The Dakota — featured in Rosemary’s Baby — a run for its money) and decides to get a roommate.
Enter Hedra/Hedy, the weird, shy young woman who’s awkward, but not enough to be a deal breaker. That comes later. Allie and Hedy become fast friends, but when Allie and Sam reconcile, Hedy’s possessiveness and neurosis become known to the viewer in both subtle and horrific ways. (NOTE: if you’re sensitive to animal violence, you may need to skip this one, as brief as the shot is. I’m guessing that this was one of the scenes that may have been cut for violence.)
Things only escalate from there, of course, and Hedy buys the same clothes as Allie, and gets the same haircut and color as her, too. Her upstairs neighbor disappears, her boss is threatened (who deserves the worst of the punishment Hedy doles out), and then it’s only a matter of time until Hedy goes after Sam in a scene that goes from mildly uncomfortable to OMG to jaw-dropping violence.
Schroeder’s direction is fantastic, as is his cast. When watching the film, it’s easy to see why the film remains infamous, due to its content. Single White Female was more or less scoffed at, due to its genre, but really should have garnered more legitimate recognition in regards to the acting and directing chops on display. The screenplay is tight, too, and this Blu-ray release makes for an enjoyable evening in.
The picture looks great, and the sound is mostly good, though at times the mix is muddy and dialogue is softer than it should be. That said, the film is a lot of fun to watch, due to the saucy story, well-made suspense, and killer cast.
- NEW Audio Commentary With Director Barbet Schroeder, Editor Lee Percy, And Associate Producer Susan Hoffman
- NEW Interview With Director Barbet Schroeder
- NEW Interview With Actor Steven Weber
- NEW Interview With Actor Peter Friedman
- NEW Interview With Screenwriter Don Roos
- Theatrical Trailer
Want Single White Female for yourself? It’s out in North America on Tuesday, November 13. You can check out a trailer and order over at Scream Factory’s site here.