It's one thing to walk into a 'Halloween' or 'Friday the 13th' movie and know what's coming your way. The guys in the masks carrying big blades are clearly the ones you should be running from. But what happens when someone doesn't have "killer written all over their forehead?" See, those are the ones that you have to watch out for, the ones with the ability to pose as nice, normal people, but then do a complete 180 once they've worked their way into your home and life.
The premise of the upcoming film 'The Roommate' is really quite clever. A college campus is an opportune location for a silent threat to take advantage of a new student's vulnerability. In honor of Rebecca (Leighton Meester) preying on her random roommate, Sara (Minka Kelly), in theaters this weekend, we're taking a look at some of the other deadly characters who used the sneak attack approach to get the one up on their victims.
They're lethal, murderous and at time psychopathic, but when you first meet these folks, they're as harmless and friendly as they come.
Peter and Paul from 'Funny Games'
Who'd be afraid of two fine-looking young men coming by to borrow some eggs? I know if I saw Peter and Paul (Brady Corbet and Michael Pitt) at my door I wouldn't think twice – of course, unless I'd seen 'Funny Games.' There's really nothing more terrifying than sheer lunacy masked by a seemingly innocuous demeanor, and that's exactly how this sadistic duo behaves. Even as they continuously break the eggs, frustrating Ann (Naomi Watts), they're doing it all with a smile. As a matter of fact, even when they barge into the house and force Ann and her family to play by their sick and twisted rules, they still maintain that friendly pep.
Norman Bates from 'Psycho'
Not only is Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) a well put-together man upon first glance, but he's also quite professional. When Marion (Janet Leigh) happens upon the Bates Motel in the middle of a rainstorm, Norman welcomes her with open arms, and giving her the complete rundown of the facility. Even as we listen in on the conversation between Norman and his mother during which she reprimands him for cozying up to their new guest, Norman is still fairly sensible. It isn't until we take a peek at Norman's parlor packed with stuffed dead animals and hear him say, "A boy's best friend is his mother," that we know something is seriously wrong. But even after that, there's still something rather eerily innocent about Norman.
Jerry Blake from 'The Stepfather'
Stepparents tend to get a bad rap in films. It's kind of understandable when you consider their relation to a "traditional" family unit; they replace a parent. No kid is going to take kindly to that. In 'The Stepfather,' we're onto Jerry Blake (Terry O'Quinn) right from the start, thanks to a quick look at one of his previous lives. Still, the guy can be quite persuasive. What young girl would turn down a puppy for a gift? Even though we're well aware of Jerry's violent past, there are so many elements in his favor, at times, you might even catch yourself putting the blame on his stepdaughter, Stephanie, the only one who's been onto him from the start.
Esther from 'Orphan'
Kids have an advantage in this topic. In 'Orphan,' not only do we first see Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) in a positive light because of what she means to Kate and John (Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard), a couple who recently lost a baby, but she's also a poor orphan in need of a family. Yes, she may be a little strange looking, decked out in a painfully outdated dress, but hey, she's just a kid. From then on, Esther's innocence is stripped away piece-by-piece as she throws a temper tantrum at school and reveals more about sex than any 9-year-old should, and then her mask is demolished entirely when she puts a hammer to Sister Abigail's head.
George Harvey from 'The Lovely Bones'
Peter Jackson may have missed the mark completely with his adaptation of 'The Lovely Bones,' but that certainly didn't hold Stanley Tucci back in the least. George Harvey is one of the sickest predators of them all, claiming young local girls as his victims. The manner in which he lured poor Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) into his death trap with his friendly demeanor is downright sickening, as is just about everything we learn about him from then on. Even worse, as we get a deeper and deeper look into his horrific hobby, he has trouble maintaining the friendly neighbor facade.
Jigsaw from 'Saw'
From day one of the 'Saw' franchise we knew John Kramer (Tobin Bell) was one sadistic guy. However, as we got to know him more and more from film to film, horrific or not, he claims to have a valid reason for his methods. No, of course killing is a major no-no, no mater what the circumstances are, but John, or Jigsaw, doesn't really want his victims to die; in fact, he wants to cure them and make them better people. Think of it as a twisted type of psychotherapy – for free! Well, free or not, I'd still pass; what it comes down to is that not only doesn't Jigsaw just kill to kill, but overall, John is actually a pretty nice and warm guy. But still, one of Jigsaw's victims, Eric Matthews, says it best, "Putting a gun to someone's head and forcing them to pull the trigger is still murder."
Hayley Stark from 'Hard Candy'
Here's yet another case of the young and seemingly innocent committing some of the most heinous and disturbing crimes. Jeff Kohlver (Patrick Wilson) might not have been in the right following through with an agreement to meet up with his online underage fling, Hayley Stark (Ellen Page), but he certainly didn't deserve what she did to him – well, kind of. Regardless of whether Jeff had it coming, Hayley is one twisted little girl. Not only are her torture methods even more horrifying than Jigsaw's, but they lack any sort of redemptive quality. They're sheerly designed to torment.