Private Project

The Roommate

When Ken’s ex-wife takes the house, he is forced to move into one of his investment properties. Everything seems to be relatively normal, that is until night fall. A series of night time disturbances brings Ken to the discovery that he has a special guest living in the shed out the back.

  • Jack Ruefli
  • Jack Ruefli
  • Jessica Childs
  • Jeremy Darling
    Key Cast
  • John Monk
    Key Cast
  • Indiana Powell
    Key Cast
    "The Roommate"
  • Christopher Baker
    Director of Photography
  • Lucy Simmons
  • Hamish McLean
  • Harrison Clare
    1st Assistant Director
  • Kulwant Singh Chouhan
  • Oscar Woodward
    Camera Operator
  • Hamish McLean
    Camera Assistant
  • Lucy Simmons
    Sound Design
  • Hamish McLean
    Sound Design
  • Shayleigh Lowther
    Make Up
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Drama, Thriller, Psychological Thriller
  • Runtime:
    11 minutes 12 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 8, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    300 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Jack Ruefli

Jack Ruefli is a Swiss-Australian filmmaker currently based in Perth, Western Australia. Jack is a student filmmaker that writes and directs his own projects as well as works as a producer and assistant on other independent projects, Jack also works part-time as a freelance videographer.

Jack usually gets his ideas for his stories by sitting outside or looking at landscapes of all types of areas. He is currently a student at Curtin University and is set to graduate in mid-2021. Ruefli directed the short drama, Paper Cuts: And So Do Words, in 2017, which was selected as a semi-finalist for the Sydney Indie Film Festival.

Jack thoroughly enjoyed his film and photography classes in High School and hasn't been able to stop ever since. His goal is to direct his own feature films for major studios and is currently building his body of work as a director.

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Director Statement

Feel of the film: The Roommate will be a very dark and ominous film. After the final climax, I want the audience to reflect on the themes of self-destruction and regret that are present within the film. To achieve this, it is important to build character depth with Ken and build a strong world around him. Through the perspectival lens of Ken, the audience will slowly empathise with him. Ultimately, this will enhance the tension and suspense throughout the film as the audience will feel closer to ken’s ordeal. The feeling I want to audience to have at the end of the film is not only fear as is for every horror film, but loss is the main feeling trying to be achieved. As Ken is losing his house and kids, it would be best for the audience to feel the same way for Ken at the end.

Inspiration: The overall look of the film draws two distinct inspirations. For the films overall dark and ominous look I was inspired by David Sandberg’s Lights Out. In particular, the scenes with Diana. The lighting situation within these scenes will deliver an image that keeps the audience in the unknown much like the main character. The high key lighting will supply an eerie mood that is greatly needed for the story. The second inspiration comes from Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook. The eerie tone and mood of the Babadook is the inspiration behind The Roommate. The Babadook utilizes frame in frame shots as well as shadows to convey the monster character. Within The Roommate this
will be an important feature as the film conveys Ken in this light, ultimately symbolising his demise at the end.

Genre: The Roommate would definitely fit under the psychological thriller genre. The dark and ominous setting combined with the story makes for a great tense and suspenseful feeling that fits in great with that of the psychological thriller genre. This genre will also help highlight Ken’s character development as well. The dark tones and themes of the film create an opportunity to utilize tension and suspense, through a gaze which can allow for key dramatic moments within the film.

Style: With The Roommate, I am opting for a more formalist style. This will enable the film to achieve the dark and ominous aesthetics and themes we are aiming for. This will also
enhance the tension throughout the film as we will be able to play around with the character's perceptions throughout.

Editing: During the shoot and edit of the film I plan to have longer cuts to evoke the tension the film needs. For the parts showing glimpses of a shadowy figure, the cuts will be faster if almost to encourage a double-take from the audience. Such as the bathroom scene where Ken’s daughter’s bedroom opens by itself, this cut will be long for suspense in contrast with the night kitchen scene where when the figure walks past the window the cut will be fast. To help with the progression of the story the editing style will be rather abrupt to transfer between scenes. However, to make sure the audience isn’t taken out of the moment it is important that this cut comes at the end of a long take. That way it readies them for what is coming next.

Sound: Sound is going to be a crucial element needed in order to make the tension and suspense within this film work. High-quality Foley will need to be done in order to highlight
suspense. For the film, there doesn’t need to be anything fancy, but the sound needs to be simple and really crisp in order to drive home the feel of the film. The score as well will also need to compliment the sound effects with low drones, such as cello’s and higher string sounds e.g violins, flutes. For the score as well I would like to experiment with choir ensemble samples as well.