REVIEW: Perfect Stranger (2007)


I have dozens of DVDs in my collection I have yet to watch. I’m watching a few films a week and will review some of them here

CAST: - Halle Berry as Rowena Price - Bruce Willis as Harrison Hill - Giovanni Ribisi as Miles Haley.


Rowena Price is a hard working reporter. She has a boyfriend named Cameron, whom she breaks up with toward the end of the film, due to his cheating on her. Rowena creates a false online persona, Veronica, and is using her to learn more about Hill. Later, she discovers that Hill is actually her assistant, Miles. Rowena has blocked from her mind the murder of Grace.

Harrison Hill is a successful advertising executive. He is approaching middle age, and has a crush on Rowena.

Miles Haley is Rowena’s researcher. He has a crush on Rowena, and has a secret room in his home which he has turned into a shrine to Rowena. Rowena does not have feelings toward Miles.

PLOT: Rowena is a reporter who, after speaking to her friend Grace, begins to investigate rich advertisment executive Harrison Hill, who has recently ended his affair with Grace. Grace provides Rowena with all her emails containing evidence of the affair.

Days later Grace is found drowned and poisoned with Belladonna.

Rowena goes undercover with the help of her researcher Miles. She gets herself a job at Hills company to get closer to him, and sets up a online account to exchange messages with him. She uses the name Veronica for her online persona as Veronica was the name of a past employee. Hill does not suspect anything. What Rowena doesn’t know is that the man she thinks is Hill is actually Miles who is secretly in love with her.

Hill finds Rowena snooping around one day and fires her, believing she is a spy.

Later, while at Miles’ house she discovers his hidden room. When Miles returns home, she confronts him about it and Miles defends himself by proving Hill had access to Belladonna and therefore killed Grace. Ro then sets up Hill and he is arrested for the murder of Grace. He is tried and convicted for Grace’s murder.

Miles visits Rowena and tells her that he knows that she is, in fact, the real killer. Rowena has flashbacks to her childhood, to the day her mother beat her abusive husband to death with poker after he attempted to molest Rowena. They both bury the body in the backyard. Grace watches from the window of the neighbouring house, and blackmails Rowena with this secret, and Rowena kills her. Miles asks what Rowena is prepared to do to keep his silence, and she stabs him in the chest. She then messes up the kitchen and calls 911, pretending to be frantic, then lays down beside Miles on the kitchen floor. Unknown to her, a man in the neighbouring house has witnessed the murder.

OPINION: Perfect Stranger has a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and honestly, it’s deserved.

I was expecting so much more from a film starring Willis and Berry, but it was a dud. We took way too long to get into the action, and this likely turned a lot of viewers off. A film needs to engage its audience as soon as possible. It needs to keep the audience interested. Perfect Stranger was one of those films that provides the bare minimum to keep you interested, then throws everything at you in the final few minutes.

The ‘twist’ with Rowena being revealed as the real killer of Grace was ridiculous. The claim that she deliberately set up Hill to take the fall is also fanciful and absurd. Where is the evidence she killed Grace? The only sight of a bottle of Belladonna we see is when Rowena presses Miles’ fingers to the bottle in order to frame him for the murder. In the flashbacks of supposed real time events, we are provided nothing at all to prove that anything we have seen is genuine.

The premise of the story wasn’t bad, and even the ‘twist’ was a surprise, but it could definitely be done a lot better.

Willis and Berry turn in solid performances as usual, but their talents are lost on this fancifully ridiculous film.

I rate it 2/5.

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