Worst Roommate Ever is a 2022 Netflix docuseries about serial killer Dorothea Puente, starring John Cabrera.
Worst Roommate Ever Docuseries Cast
- John Cabrera as Self
- Jerene Yap as Self
- Kieran Teo Ee Shuen as Self
Worst Roommate Ever Docuseries Plot
It’s hard to beat Netflix at churning out some great and otherwise decent true crime documentaries every once in a while. Along with the television arm of Blumhouse Productions, known for some of the best horror-thriller films, Netflix is back with another true-crime docuseries in the form of Worst Roommate Ever.
A good roommate can be an ideal partner for a Sunday night binge with some delicious ice cream. On the contrary, a bad roommate can just bring your worst nightmare to reality by smothering you to death while you dream about fairies and cupcakes. Worst Roommate Ever captures four such real-life cases when the unsuspicious, friendly-looking, and helpful roomie turns out to be the antithesis of an ideal roommate.
Worst Roommate Ever Docuseries Review
Through mostly the stories of the survivors, this docuseries brings victim accounts of people who found their roommates not an ideal match to the roommate of their dreams, to say the least. Tales of otherwise harmless-looking roommates turning into nightmarish and murderous (in most cases) individuals. A murderous old granny, an obsessed lover, a marathon-running hustler, and a serial squatter contribute to five episodes of some gruelling true-crime storytelling. Dorothea Puente, K.C. Joy, Youssef Khater, and Jamison Bachman become the face for the Worst Roommate Ever in this docuseries.
Apart from being another warning against looking for people on Craigslist who can turn out to be potential serial killers, the docuseries brings four accounts from different points in time, each being uniquely different but with the overarching “roommate” theme connecting them together. Horrifyingly sad, occasionally surprising, and consistently attempting to manage a scare, this docuseries does a decent job in telling the stories with the victims and their sufferings on the focal point. Every testimony nearly follows the same pattern ridden with retrospective suspicion and recurring regret.
The strength of this docuseries lies in the connection the stories can establish with the viewer. The possibility of living across the hall with a murderous sociopath will send some chills down the spine of even the strongest willed. The series does not fail to reiterate this point time and again. Just so that you don’t miss it. With a suspense-inducing and minutely scaring background score that lurks in the back throughout providing an ambience of impending danger goes well with the well-used animated re-enactments. The animated sequences add a different tone but not without taking certain creative liberties on the way, liberties that may blur the line between reality and imagination. All of it is geared up to evoke a sense of fear and horror, and the attempt is constant throughout enjoying limited success.
Objectively, none of the true cases is as horrifying or unbelievable as previously seen in some of Netflix’s best true-crime productions. Yes, it’d be horrifying to live a room away from a person who will choke you to death and wrap you up like a burrito in a tarpaulin to be found dead. But apart from this obvious catch, neither the crimes are so genius in nature nor executed like the brainwork of a truly criminal mastermind that they will evoke a real sense of horror. Nowhere is any brilliant detective work and crime-solving also involved to keep you on your toe. The editing is precisely done towards making up for the thrill factor but at the same time, it keeps the truly interesting bits waiting for a bit too long. Most of the creative choices made, leap towards making the otherwise uninteresting bits of the stories more enticing. A failed attempt is any day more glaringly noticed than a successful accomplishment. Worst Roommate Ever falls in this trap far too many times.
The Progressive Quality of Storytelling Throughout the Episodes
Minus the suspense, if there is really something that will hold you glued to this five-episode long true crime tour, it’s the quality of storytelling and stories that keep improving with every episode. Slowly but steadily, the docuseries finds its grip with truly compelling stories backed by effective animated storytelling and narration. But even then, the inconsistencies are not pleasant when they appear. The stock camera shots and the formulaic editing made to amplify the suspense become a staple of the Netflix documentary machine. Not to forget the one occasion when the background interviewer happened to interject leading to a rather awkward camera moment.
The goal of the docuseries is clear. The intention is to really scare you (one of the episodes starts with talks about “evil”). After this business is taken care of, it pivots to bring across the point of directing at the possibility of such a thing happening with anybody. In this pivot, Worst Roommate Ever toots the horn of warning quite clearly and loudly. The warning bell is rung multiple times through survivor retellings. The red flags are marked and the trauma associated with such unfortunate encounters are highlighted with care.
The underwhelming aspect of Worst Roommate Ever is the lack of conviction it evokes in the truly horrifying nature of the crimes apart from a few occasions in which there are no survivors to tell the story. Some good animated sequences do their best to kindle the imagination but then again, they happen to be placed inconsistently throughout the course of five episodes. Some graphically intensive scenes might make the sensitive ones go fetch the puke bucket and others feel the heebie-jeebies.
The Movie Culture Synopsis
The docuseries tries to oversell itself. Without letting the imagination run wild, it’s tough to buy the pitch. The theme while being remarkably interesting is failed by the inconsistency in quality. The short episodic format works well to provide variety and arrest interest but in doing so, it leaves multiple details unattended and questions unanswered.
Quite aptly put by one of the interviewees, “The scariest thing is a brilliant psycho.” The psychos are present but with questionable brilliance. It’s got everything that makes for a good watch but if anything, the docuseries teaches you- it’s not to fall for first impressions. So, the advisory to tread cautiously is useful both when you are looking for your next roommate or planning to watch Worst Roommate Ever.