Indie Film Review: Cohabitation (2020)


While former paramedic Emily tries to live a low-key life to cope with her PTSD, her new roommate has other plans and a long-held vendetta against medical personnel.


Written and directed by Lauren Barker in her feature film debut Barker does a pristine job with her drama thriller Cohabitation. We meet Emily (Tiffany Streng), a former paramedic who is battling PTSD. Ready to move on, deal, and heal, Emily moves into her a new place, putting an ad up for a roommate. After a fun montage of roommate hopefuls, Emily meets Sarah (Stephaine Rose Quinnell), who out of all seems the most normal, and bonus, they like the same book. The problem is something is not quite right with Sarah.

Reminiscent of the roommate from hell and Single White Female scenario, Barker reinvigorates it reminding us how much we love my roommate/babysitter/ coworker is a psycho motif. Also, a lesson reminder that we never know anyone, really. 

Still shot from Cohabitation

Performance-wise the cast did well. Tiffany Streng gives a good performance as Emily. She even won the Best Actress in a Feature Film at the Milwaukee Twisted Dreams Festival. To do your best, you need good actors to bounce off of, and Carly D. Anderson (Heather) and Zachary Kruger (Cardyn) are two of my standouts. I especially loved Kruger and Streng’s believable chemistry together as siblings. In the closing scene, boy, they tugged at my heart strings with their performance in that scene. I felt it. Oh! Let’s not forget Dave Payton as slimy landlord Ron, who delivered creepy dirty to perfection.

 Being Indie and filmed with a small budget Barker does a phenomenal job as Cohabitation flows well with nice edits and transitions that keeps you in your seat, even for this action-loving junkie, Yet I was left wishing for a bit more. Especially about Emily’s trauma and PTSD. It baffled me a bit as to why arriving at an emergency scene, which I am sure she had encountered before, caused her to leave. I think Barker leaves it up to us to conclude, and I theorized that maybe she never had someone die on her at the job before. When it did, it hit her out of the left-field, making her think she was not worthy enough of her job. 

The ending was redemptive, though, and it made me smile. Therefore after the credits roll, I give Cohabitation 8 out of 10 stars.

You, too, can check out Cohabitation, available to watch on  Amazon / Goggle PlayTubi / and YouTube.

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