Total Stranger (1999) - full transcript

A middle-aged woman takes on a young female tenant to help pay her debts, but gets a lot more than she bargains for when the girl starts to act very strangely indeed . . .

(suspenseful music)

(water sloshing)

(crickets chirping)

(soft music)

(water sloshing)

(soft music)

(soft groaning)

(banging on door and latch clicking)

- [Dennis] Open the door.

- [Lara] Dennis, please, leave me alone.

- [Dennis] Open the door,
or I'll break it down!

- [Lara] Stop it!

- [Dennis] Do you hear me?

Don't make me break it down!

Open the damn door!

(banging on door)

- [Lara] Get out of here.

- Hey.

Give me that.

- Let go of me, please! Please!

- Drop it!

Drop it!

- Please, let go of me!

- Drop it!

- Leave me alone, please!

Let go of me!

(Dennis shouting)

(hard breathing)

(soft dramatic music)


(door closing)

(soft dramatic music)

Help me, please!

(horn honking)

Help me.

(tires squealing)

Help me please.

- Get in.

(soft dramatic music)

- Damn it.

Damn it!

(soft dramatic music)

- You all right?

Can I help you?

- No.

(soft dramatic music)

Stop the car please.

Stop the car please.

(soft dramatic music)

(door closing)

(crickets chirping)

- [Student] I have no idea
what you're talking about.

- [Student] I've got lab at two, so.

- [Student] Okay, I'll meet you there.

- Lara, if he's stalking you,
you need to press charges.

Now I know you're scared,
but that's all the more

reason to have him locked up.

- Yeah, can you guarantee
they'll lock him up

before he kills me?

I just have to make
sure he doesn't find me.

- Well I certainly hope that
you will think about it.

In the meantime, here's a
prescription of antibiotics.

Are you on any medication right now?

- No.

- For Chrissakes, Mom.

Get down from there before
you break your neck.

- Jill, how's it look?

- It looks like you've lost your mind.

But what are you doing up there?

- I'm fixing up the house.

- You could hire a professional.

- Hey, I thought you'd be proud of me.

Strong, self-sufficient
woman, here me roar.

- I just mean the house coulda waited

till you got your business off the ground.

- No, I couldn't.

The house needed sprucing up.

I've decided to take in a renter.

- Oh my God, what for?

- I don't like coming
home to an empty house.

- Mom, you gotta get real
and get used to being alone.

- I am used to it.

I hate it.

Is that real enough?

- Mom?

- Did you bring me a present?

- Me.

No, Peter and I got this
for you on our trip.

- You went away together?

- Why not? We've been
sleeping together for--

- I don't need the details.


Since when can you buy wine?

- I can't.

Peter can. He's 22.

- Your older man. Don't remind me.

- Would you just take this?

We got it from this amazing
little winery in Napa.

- That's what he's got you
doing, hanging out in wineries?

- (scoffs) Would you
just chill out, Mother?

We took a tour.

I thought you would appreciate
the thought, my mistake.

- I do.

Thank you.

I'll save it for a special occasion.

- I hope you're not planning
on renting out my room.

- You don't have a room.
You moved out, remember?

- That's what people do when
they go to college, Mom.


- So, you seen your dad lately?

- We had dinner.

- Was the silicone queen there?

- Her name is Jacqueline, Mother.

- Was she?

- No.

- Will you at any point
be seeing the two of them?

I mean, your dad and Jacqueline, not uh.

- At some point, Mom,
what do you want me to do?

Stop seeing my dad altogether?

- Yes.


Hey, how's that for a real feeling.

- It's pretty lousy, if
you really wanna know.

- You're right. I'm sorry.

I really am doing better.

It may not look it, but I am.

I am getting on with my life.

- Yeah.

Mom, then why take in a total stranger?

- For the company, and I need the money.

- I gotta go.

- Hey, come on in. I've
got angel food cake.

- I gotta get back to school.

- With lemon frosting.

- Ah, maybe just a piece.

- Don't be scared, Romeo, it's me.

I'm not gonna hurt you.

It's okay.

- I'll finish up here.

You should probably go
home and get some sleep.

- Home?

Can't go back there.

I barely snuck my stuff
outta the house this morning

while he was at work.

- You could stay at my apartment.

My roommates wouldn't mind.

- I'm okay, really.

- Well, uh,

if there's anything I
can do, just let me know.

- Thanks.

I'll be fine.

(soft music)

(birds singing)

(soft music)

- [Lara] What a wonderful house.

- I love this room.

It's very quiet.

Ray used to use it as an office
when we were starting out.

Ray is my soon-to-be ex.

- It's great.

- I think it has the
best view in the house.

- What a beautiful garden.
Is that a tree house?

- Ray built that for my daughter,
Jill, the summer she got

her braces and was hiding out.

I don't mind your having
friends over, so long as you

don't mind entertaining them back here.

- I don't do too much entertaining.

I practically live in the lab.

- The lab?

- I'm getting my PhD in bacteriology.

- How impressive.

Is that right?

Bacteriology? Well you won't find any.

- What?

- Bacteria.


You can use anything you
want in the cabinets.

Oh, except for these crystal glasses.

These were my mother's.

You put everything back
where you found it,

and we will get along famously.

(cat meowing)

Oh, that's Buster.

- Oh my gosh.

- You're not allergic, are you?

- No, I love animals.

- He's on mouse and rat detail.

- Hey, rats are my buddies,

professionally speaking, of course.

- May I ask why you're moving?

- It's a long story.

Let's just say I'm a very private person.

- Good, so am I.

- I'm not weird about it or anything.

- (chuckles) Neither am I.

That depends on who you ask.

- Speaking of which, I
did bring my references.

There you go.

The ad says 450 a month?

- Including water and utilities.

I have to save on expenses,
so I'm trying to keep

costs down by not using
the central heating.

But when winter comes, you
can bring in a space heater.

Is that okay?

- Sure.

I look great in sweaters.


What's upstairs?

- Oh, that's my bedroom.

And my daughter, she's away at college.

And the attic.

The upstairs is out of bounds, I'm sorry.

Is that okay?

Do I sound severe?

My daughter, Jill, says I get severe.

It's just when I'm on--

- Patti, it's fine, really.

You asked the right questions,

and you laid down the
house rules, it's fine.

- I hope they don't sound too restrictive.

Ray used to say that when
it came to this house

I get worse than a drill sergeant.

- I want the room.

- You don't even wanna think about it?

- I have thought about it.

It's perfect.

How about you?

- Well if the references check out, sure.

You've got a deal.

- Great, thanks.

Oh, do you have a security system?

- Yes, I do.

- You know, two women alone.

- It's very safe here.

- That's good to know.

Thanks for the tour.

- Sure.

- I hope to hear from you soon.

- Okay, bye.
- Bye-bye.

- Yes, Lara Lewis gave you as a reference.

She said she works for you.

- [Barry] Yeah, that's
right, she's terrific.

What else would you like to know?

- I'm considering her as a tenant.

Would you say she's reliable?

- Yeah, 100%.


- [Patti] And how about neat?

- You know, we are fanatics
about that around here,

and I can't tell you how
well organized this lab

has become since she's been onboard.

- So you recommend her?

- Yes, you're lucky if you get her.

She's a gem, a real doll.

- Thank you. That's what I wanted to hear.


- Okay, a gem, I like, but a doll?

- What? It was my first reference.

I got nervous.

- Well, thanks.

I couldn't have her call my last landlord.

You know me better than anyone here.

- Not all that well, though.

But we could change that.

You know, maybe dinner,

or something, sometime.

- Maybe sometime.

- [Patti] I need you to stay another week.

- [Annette] No you don't,
no you don't, trust me.

- That's what you used to
say at school when you were

about to con me into
some hare-brained scheme.

- I have watched you
every day for over a month

in this shop, and there's
nothing about it you don't know.

- Except how to run it.

- Patti, now listen to me.

I've got my hands full in San Francisco.

I never would have opened a second shop

if I didn't think you could run it.

- I can't thank you enough.

You have saved me.

- Oh, it's not a favor, it's not a favor.

It has been such a gas to
hang out with you again

and watch you, I don't know, what?


- Blossom?

- Mm-hm, you're not gonna let
me get sentimental, are you?

No, no, you're just gonna
be a pain in the ass.

All right, goodbye.

(horn beeping)


- Bye, have a safe trip.

(traffic passing)

(crickets chirping)

(door opening and closing)

- Hi, perfect timing.

Don't worry. This won't become a habit.

I just, I wanted to surprise you.

- You did all this?

- Mm-hmm.

- Oh my God.

Oh my.

You made these yourself?

- Mm-hmm, my father's a
chef. He studied in Paris.

I studied with him.

- I can't remember the last
time anyone made dinner for me.

- We'll have to make a toast.

- Oh wait, wait. Let me get
my mother's wineglasses.

- Okay.

- Oh, I stopped by the
stationery store on my way home,

and I picked up a new lease.

We might as well make it official.

Oh, my ex always insisted on
getting everything in writing.

- What is he, a lawyer,
or just suspicious?

- Both.


(soft music)

(crickets chirping)

He coulda been cheating on me for years.

I don't know. He denies it.

And until the moment I found out,

it never even occurred to me.

- Hmm, too trusting.

Me too.

It's time to change all that.

Here's to us.


Here's to being happy.

(glasses clinking)

(soft music)

- This house always made me happy.

I put my heart and soul
into making this a place

that my family would wanna come home to.

And it worked.

Until it,

until it didn't.

Enough of that, cleanup time.

- Patti?

Your home is perfect.

I'm glad to share even
a little piece of it.

And you relax, okay?

This is my mess. I'll take care of it.

- No, I want to.

Actually, I like to.

- Nobody likes to, come on.

- You made the dinner. I will clean up.

- Yeah, I made the mess. I'll clean up.

- Really, let me do that.


(glass breaking)

- Oh no.
- Shit.

- I am so sorry. It's all my fault.

I'm really sorry.

- It's okay.

It was an accident.

- But it was your mother's.

- Yeah, I know.

Maybe it was meant to be.

Maybe it's time.

- For what?

- To let go of the past.

(soft music)

- So you don't think I went
overboard on the roses?

- No, I love it.

Whatever part of the cycle
they're in, they're so beautiful.

- And you're happy with the way it looks?

- Are you kidding? You have
brought this place to life.

Thank you.

- You're welcome.

I'm a lot more interesting.


(birds chirping)

- What am I forgetting?
What am I forgetting?

What am I forgetting?
What am I forgetting?


- [Lara] Good morning.

- Good morning.

Remember, close all the
windows, lock both doors,

don't let the cat out, and set
the alarm before you leave.

- Looks to me like bells
have already gone off.

- What?

- You've got a boyfriend.


- I am dating the gardener.

- How Lady Chatterley of you.

- Actually, he's a landscape architect,

but either way I don't
know what I'm doing.

This is all new to me.

I haven't dated a man since
college, for God's sakes.

- Well they haven't changed.

- I just hope it's like
swimming or riding a bike.

I hope it does all come back to you.

- It will.

Just make sure this one treats you right.

- Bye-bye.
- Bye.


- Keys.

Thanks, bye-bye.


(door opening and closing)

(soft suspenseful music)

(birds singing)

(soft suspenseful music)

(students chattering)

- [Student] Hi, Lara.

- Hey, how you doing?

- Good to see you.
- You too.

(students chattering)

- Hey.
- Shit!

- I'm sorry, gee, what's the matter?

- Shit, see that guy in the
orange jacket? That's him.

That's my old landlord.

I think he's following me.

- I'll get campus security.

- No don't.

- They can--

- They can what? Escort
him off campus, then what?

You gotta help me.

Will you help me, please.

- Yeah.

(students chattering)

- [Man] I forgot my parking pass!

- You looking for someone?

- Yeah, yeah, a girl named Lara Lewis,

works in the lab here.

- Not anymore.

She quit about a week ago.

- You know where I can find her?

- No.

She dropped outta
school, just disappeared.

I think I heard she was in Chicago.

- Chicago, huh?

Thanks, thanks a lot.

- Thank you.

- Sure.

(students chattering)

(shears clipping)

(dog barking)

(door closing)

- Nice flowers.

They from your gardener?

- Nope, they're from me to you
to thank you for the dinner.

- They're beautiful.

Thank you.

- By the way, you left the
living window wide open.

- Oops.

- And you didn't set the alarm.

- Sorry.

- Someone could have broken in.

- Believe me, I know, and I'm sorry.

- You have to be more--

- I said I was sorry!

Trust me, I am, okay!

God, what is wrong with you?

(soft dramatic music)

I'm sorry, okay.

It's not you.

It's me.

There's something I didn't tell you.

The reason I had to move is I was being

harassed by my old landlord.

He broke into the bathroom
when I was in the bathtub.

- You poor kid.

I am so sorry.

- It's okay.

(soft music)

(crickets chirping)

- I don't have my prescription number.

No, uh, can't you just check
my name in the computer?

Lara Lewis, L-E-W-I-S.

Thank you, I'll hold.

- While you're at it, you should

order some methamphetamines.

- What?

- Well, because tomorrow we
start the graveyard shift.


Think you can still deal with that?

- Are you kidding? It'll be great.

Have my house to myself all day.

- And we'll have the labs
to ourselves all night.

- What?

No, no, I can't do that.

No, my doctor is away, and I
need this filled as soon as-

Look, just save it, okay? It doesn't help.

- So listen, I was thinking, you know,

maybe you and I--

- Alan, are you coming on to me or what?

(birds singing)

(dog barking)

- Guess who?

- Patti.

You're home early. Why
aren't you at the shop?

- Why aren't you at the lab?

- I have new hours.

- Come here. I wanna show
you the new rosebuds.

- Hang on a sec.

How do you just help yourself

to something that isn't yours.

- What?

- That wine was a
present from my daughter.


- Wine.

I'm sorry, I thought you
were talking about Steve.


- I gotta run.

I'll call you later, Patti, okay?

- I'm really sorry.

I must have gotten this bottle
mixed up with one of mine.

- For someone who's
recently been attacked,

you certainly recover quickly.

- Recovering is one of
my better qualities.

- Yes, I can see that.

Just don't do it with my friends.

- Patti, how well do you know Steve?

- Excuse me.

(dog barking)

- This wine has a bit of an aftertaste.


(soft suspenseful music)


- Lara?

Lara, we have to talk.

- [Lara] I'm busy right now.

- It's important.

- Just give me a minute.


It's to replace the one
I opened by mistake.

I'm sorry I got them confused.

- I-

Thank you.

We have a problem.

- It's not my fault. Steve came on to me.

- That's not the issue.

- You're naive if you
think that I'm the one--

- The utility bills have
gone through the roof.

I don't have any choice
but to raise your rent.

- You can't.

- Yes, I can.

- Not under the terms of the lease.

- We had an agreement.

The thermostat was
supposed to be left off.

- But the lease you had me
sign includes all utilities.

- I can't afford this.

- (scoffs) Well, I can't
afford a rent hike.

- Then I guess you're
going to have to find

someplace else to live.

- No.

I have until June, and an
option for another 12 months,

according to the lease
that you had me sign.

- I know what the goddam lease says.

- Do you?

Or are you pissed off at yourself

for not reading it carefully enough?

- Did you read this lease agreement?

- Yeah, of course.

- Well then, you should
know, you've given her

exclusive right to occupy
the house, the whole house.

You didn't specify that
she's only renting a room.

- That was our verbal agreement.

- Which is superseded by
your written contract.

She's within her rights.

The law favors the tenant.

- So what do I do?

- You could lock her out, but
I wouldn't recommend that.

- What would you recommend?

- Learn to live with it.

- This is your expert opinion, Barry?

- Your only other choice
is to buy her out.

- Pay for her to move?

- In the long haul, that would be

the cheapest, quickest way.

Eviction takes months.

- I feel so stupid. How
did I get into this mess?

- You're distracted.

You're going through a divorce.

Speaking of which, I got
a call from Ray's lawyer.

Ray would like the painting.

- What painting?

- I don't know, something in
the front hall or cottage.

- No way, I love that painting.

- He said that you hated it.

- Jill hates that painting.

That goes to show how well he knows me.

- I'll take care of it, okay?

Back to the tenant situation.

Try a friendlier approach now.

(knocking on door)

- [Patti] Lara?

(knocking on door)


(soft suspenseful music)

- I hate to do this to you, little guy.

I'll miss you.

(soft music)

See, not too bad.

Back home, there you go.

Good job.

(mice squeaking)

(soft music)

Sorry, Romeo, it's your turn.

Yep, your turn.

Come on.

(soft dramatic music)

(mouse squeaking)



(soft dramatic music)

(clock bell tolling)

(soft music)

- Lara?

- Hi, did I wake you?

- No, can I talk to you?

- Sure.

- Come here.

I know this situation
isn't working for you.

And I'm to blame.

I ... never realized how
private a person that I am.

And I think you need more space.

I should never have rented out the room.

I'm prepared to pay your moving expenses,

and a little extra, that's negotiable.

And if you want, I'll
help you find a place.

- So you're asking me to move out?

- Yes, and I'm offering to pay you.

- I can't really handle this right now.

Can I talk to you in the morning, please?

- Okay.

- Patti?

- Yes?

- Good night.

- Night.

(mouse squeaking)

- Don't worry, Romeo, we'll be all right.

Just fine.

(gentle music)

(door creaking)

(gentle music)

- She turns it all around.

I suddenly find myself
feeling bad for her.

I was all set to get rid of her.

She has this way of looking so victimized,

and now I don't know what to do.

Was I always this indecisive?

- No, you were always
very sure of yourself,

and then you'd make the wrong decision.

- I don't know why I even
bother talking to you.

- Because I'm the only one that'll listen.

Seriously, give her another chance,

but if she takes advantage
of you again, you come first.

That's why you finally
got rid of Ray, remember?

- Yep.

It's just sometimes easier to forget.

- Are you on the car phone?

- [Patti] Yes.

- I thought we opened the shop at 9:30.

- Yes we do. I forgot my key.

- How could you forget that? You know--

- Oops, ooh, I'm losing you.

- Liar.

(phone beeping)

(soft music)

(dog barking)

(soft music)

(keys jingling)

(suspenseful music)

- What in the hell are
you doing in my room?

- I wasn't in your room.

- Don't you lie to me.

- You lied to me. You said
you'd be out until eight.

- You get out of my way.

- No, I'm sick of you ordering me around.

Don't go here, don't
do this, don't do that.

You know, I know my rights.
I'll drag you in court.

- You'll drag me in court?

- You went into my room,
and you took my radio.

- Radio, get out of my way.

- You said you'd never
be here during the day,

that I'd have this place all to myself,

that it would be my
place, and now you think

that you can pay me to go away?

- I want you out of my house!

- Lady, you don't have
the money or the guts

to get me out of your house.

(dramatic music)

- [Patti] How could I be so stupid

as to let her in my house?

- How do you know that Lara did this?

- What, There's some American beauty

serial killer out there?

The woman was in my bedroom.

- Okay, but that doesn't
necessarily mean that she did this.

- Why are you defending her?

- I'm not.

- You and my daughter.

I tell her Lara was in my
room, she says big deal.

- All I'm saying is--

- Forget it, Steve.

(soft dramatic music)

(lock clicking)

(soft dramatic music)

(door rattling)

(soft dramatic music)

(mouse squeaking)

- That oughta do it, huh, Romeo?

(phone ringing)

- Your 10 o'clock is here.

- Tell him I'll be right in.

- Her.

(people chattering)

(phone ringing)

- Hello, I'm Ray Young.

- Hi, Lara Lewis.

I'm a friend of your daughter's.

She suggested I see you.

- Oh, great, well now
she'll want a commission.

Come on in, sit down.

- Thanks.

- What can I do for you?

- Well, I'm having
problems with my landlady.

And Jill said that if
anyone could help, it's you.

Here's the lease.

There are plumbing problem.

She's turned off the heat.

I can only use the washer
and dryer on certain days.

And now she says either I leave
or she's raising the rent.

I've only been there a month and a half.

- Why do you wanna stay?

- I can't afford to move right now.

- So where does Mrs. Brown live?

- She has a place in Palm Springs,

but she gets mail at
the house all the time.

She's always dropping
in on me unexpectedly.

- Well we could file suit,

if you can afford the legal fees.

- No, I'm a student.

This might be asking a lot,
and if I'm out of line,

just tell me, but,

maybe you could write me a letter.

- Well that's not a bad idea.

Has she ever threatened you?

- Not yet, but it could happen.

She's not the most stable person I know.

- Well, if she ever does,
we'll slap a restraining order

on her, keep her away from the house.

- We can do that?

- You bet your pretty little head we can.


- Jill was right.

You are wonderful.

- And if she won't fix the
plumbing or turn on the heat,

we'll report her to the health department.

Meanwhile, I'm gonna
write her a lawyer letter

that will knock her on her ass.

- I don't know how to thank you.

- Oh, it's been my pleasure.

You just ... you tell
my secretary the address

and I'll have the letter for
you this afternoon, all right?

And tell my daughter to call me

for something besides money, would you?

- Okay.

- Okay?
- Thank you.

- Bye-bye.

(phone ringing)

(soft dramatic music)


(soft dramatic music)

(copier whirring)

(soft dramatic music)

- The check came in Monday.
$1,750 to Lara Lewis.

- I never wrote this check.

This woman is my tenant.
She's forged my name.

- The fraud unit will have to investigate.

- What about my money?

- [Bank Officer] That depends
on what they find out.

Until then, I can't do anything.

- Is there anyone else I could speak to,

a manager or somebody?

- Of course, but they're going
to tell you the same thing.

- As what? You haven't said anything.

- You're just going to have to be patient.

These things take time.

(soft dramatic music)

(door opening and closing)

(soft dramatic music)

(crickets chirping)

- I went to the bank today.

- So?

You gave that to me.

- You forged my signature.

- Are you nuts?

You sat right there at the
table and wrote it out.

I watched you.

Don't you remember?

- I did not write that check.


- You're accusing me of forgery.

You know, I am getting
really tired of your crap.

This is from my lawyer.

- This is from my ex-husband.

Did he send you here?

Is he behind this?

- Ray happens to be my attorney.

I'm a very good friend.

I could see why you married him.

- You get out of here.

You get out of my sight.

You get out!

(crickets chirping)

(glass smashing)

(dramatic music)

(mouse squeaking)

- She shouldn't be doing
that in my house, Romeo?

What are we gonna do with her, huh?


(car door opening)

- [Officer] Where is she?

- [Lara] Upstairs.

- [Officer] Wait here.

(door opening and closing)

(phone dialing)

- [Jill] Hello.

- Jill, there's someone in the house.

- [Jill] Is it someone with Lara?

Mom, Mom, are you there?

- They're right outside the door.

- [Jill] Mom, call 911!

(knocking on door)

- [Officer] Open up, police officers.

Anybody in there?



(phone beeping)

(phone dialing)

Let's get outta here.

(dog barking)

- [Operator] 911 emergency.


Hello, 911, may I help you?

- Sorry, there's been a mistake.

- [Operator] Very well, ma'am.

- Thank you for coming.

I thought she was going to kill me.

- Well if she's drunk like you said,

she's probably passed out, but

if she threatens you again,

you give us a call.

- Thank you. I will.

- All right.

- Take care.

(soft dramatic music)

(car doors opening and closing)

(engine starting)

- [Secretary] Mrs. Young,
you can't go in there.

- Hang up.

- What?

- I said hang up!

- I'll have to call you back.

Have you completely flipped out?

- You bastard.

What are you, sleeping with her too?

- I don't know who you mean.

- No, you wouldn't, would you?

Between your implanted bimbette
and whoever else you meet

at the club, at the bar, I
don't know, or the streets,

it must be hard to keep track.

- What in hell are you talking about?

- Miss Lewis.

- Lara? She's Jill's friend.

- What, who told you that?

- [Ray] Lara.

- She's my tenant.

- Your tenant?

I had no idea this was--

- You've been lying for so long

you actually believe what you say.

- She conned me.

She told me her landlady
was Judith something

in Palm Springs, that's who
I addressed this letter to.

Check my files.

- Shit.

- Did you interview this girl?

I mean, are you just letting anybody move

into our house now?

I read the lease.

It's serious. You could
be in some trouble.

I hope you're more cautious

with the contracts for the new business.

You have to read them thoroughly,

and if you don't understand them.

- Ray, don't condescend to me.

- No, I'm concerned. I did
give you the startup capital.

- You owe me that money.

- Don't start with your hysterics.

- I am not hysterical.

- Oh no?

Well you scared the life out
of our daughter last night.

She was gonna drive two hours,
in the middle of the night,

to rescue you, and then you call up

and you say, oh oh, it's a false alarm.

Where is your head, Patti?

(students chattering)

- Mom, what are you
... is everything okay?

- Yes, sure.

I wanted to talk to you.

- I have a phone.

You guys, I'll catch up.

- I wanted to see you.

Your dad said I worried you last night.

I wanted to tell you I'm sorry.

- It's okay, Mom, just forget it.

- I can't.

He accused me of being a hysteric.

- Well you did drive over 100 miles

to have this conversation.

- Jill.

- I mean, what's up, Mom?

Is this some kind of change of life thing?

(students chattering)

- Do you think that I'm
overreacting about Lara?

- I gotta go to class.

- Jill, tell me the truth.

- That is the truth.

- You cannot bail out on this trip.

You have gotta learn this
aspect of the business.

And you've gotta get outta town,

get some perspective on
this whole Lara situation.

- Which my daughter
thinks I'm exaggerating.

- Yeah well, she's a
kid. What does she know?

Anyway, this is not about your daughter.

It's not about Jill, it's not
about Lara, it's about you.

And you need to be on this trip,

personally and professionally.

And, you have got to
get out of that house.

- Stop lecturing me.

Or I'll miss my plane.

(phone beeping)

(crickets chirping)

(door creaking)

(dog barking)

(soft suspenseful music)

(drill buzzing)

(soft suspenseful music)

- Thanks a lot.

(soft suspenseful music)

(dress zipping)

(soft suspenseful music)

(perfume spraying)

(soft suspenseful music)


You like this bed, hmm?

(mouse squeaking)

Okay, Romeo, it's night-night time.

(soft suspenseful music)

(mouse squeaking)

- It's okay, sh.

Come here, it's okay.

(soft suspenseful music)

(cat meowing)

- Romeo, Romeo?

Romeo, where are you, little guy?


Don't do this to me, Romeo.

Where are you?

Don't hide from me.

(soft suspenseful music)


Buster, get outta here!

(cat hissing)

I'll clean your cage, little guy.

Come back.

(soft suspenseful music)

(toilet flushing)

(phone dialing)

Dr. Margolis please.

Yeah, Lara Lewis.

Hi, I need a refill on my prescription,

but the pharmacy claims it's run out.

No, I don't have time for that.

No, you don't understand.

I need this now.

I shouldn't have to have a
consultation with him just to-

(water trickling)

(soft suspenseful music)

(phone dialing)

Health department.

I don't know, the emergency number.

The emergency number for
the health department.


(dog barking)

(soft suspenseful music)

(crickets chirping)

(soft suspenseful music)

- My shower's broken.

(water lapping)

If you don't mind,

I'm taking a bath.

(soft suspenseful music)

(water lapping)

(phone ringing)

- Oh, excuse me.

California and Maine, may I help you?

- Yeah, it's Frank, the plumber.

You said there'd be
someone home to let me in.

- There is. Did you ring the bell?

- 10 times at least.

Look, ma'am, I got three
more jobs to do today.

- Wait for me there, Frank.

I'll let you in myself. I'm so sorry.

- What do you think?

The hat?

- Oh, it's great.

Look, I have an emergency
and I have to leave.

Do you want the dress?

- Yes.

- Would you mind wearing it out?

- You mean now?

- I'll take 10% off.

I'll throw in the hat.

You can pay me tomorrow.
Do we have a deal?

- Okay, I'll just get my things.

- Thank you.

(tools rattling)

- [Patti] Ugh.


(hard breathing)

(birds chirping)

(soft suspenseful music)

(water dripping)


(deep breathing)

(soft suspenseful music)


- I want this psycho out of
my house. I want her evicted.

- I told you. You're looking
at six to eight weeks minimum.

- I don't care. I can't
sleep, I can't eat.

My business is suffering.

- It may provoke further retaliation.

- I'm afraid to walk into my own home.

(sighs) I have finally
begun to take control

over my own life.

I am not going to lose it.

- Nor should you.

I'm just suggesting it
might be more prudent--

- No.

File the fucking notice.

(dramatic music)

(students chattering)

- I know she's your friend,

but there are things
about Lara you don't know.

- I know you two don't get along.

Listen, I can't get involved here, okay?

- You're the one who gave
her the favorable reference,

so you are involved.

So answer me.

Can your bacteria kill a cat?

- Why are you asking me this?

- My cat died of a bacterial infection.

I know Lara handles toxic bacteria.

- Listen, you are way outta line.

Lara loves animals. She
wouldn't hurt your cat.

- Lara has problems.

I need to get in touch with her family.

- I don't know them.

- Did she ever mention a father?

I think he was a chef.

- Listen, I am working the tail end

of a double shift here, do you mind?

- Yes, I do. I need information.

- Bacteria do not leave this lab.

- My cat is dead!

Lara was the only one there.

Goddamit! She's a mentally unstable woman.

- The only mentally unstable
woman I see here is you.

Excuse me.

(suspenseful music)

- [Jill] Oh my God.

I don't believe it.
This is totally berserk.

- Me or Lara?

- I had no idea.

Mom, I'm sorry I doubted you.

I've been a real pain.

Forgive me?

- Come on and help me.

I'm gonna hole up in my bedroom.

- You shouldn't have to do this, Mom.

She's destroying this place.

- I've taken pictures. It's
all evidence against her.

I just have to wait it out.

- Aren't you scared?

- A little.

But I won't let her alone in our house.

- Mom, forget the house.

Why don't you stay with me?

I mean, at least until
the eviction's over.

- You, me and Peter? That'd be cozy.

- No, this house is important to me.

You were born here, Jilly.

There are ... memories here.

I will not let this woman destroy them.

(soft suspenseful music)

(deep breathing)

- [Alan] You never told
me your father was a chef.

- I don't really like to talk about him.

- Okay.

How about your mother?

Did she work, or was she a homemaker?

- We didn't really have a home.

- Were you homeless?

- Leave it alone, Alan, okay?

- I'm sorry.

I just wanna get to know you better.

- No you don't.

- Why?

Lara, I'm not gonna hurt you.

- Stop it, okay?

- I'm just trying--
- Stop.

(mouse squeaking)


- What the heck was that?

- She's a freak. She
does that every night.

- You know, she thinks you killed her cat.

- She killed it.

- Listen, if she's a psycho, she could--

- Forget about her.

(soft music)

(soft moaning)

(door opening)

(door closing)

- Patti Young?


Are you Patti Young?

- Yes.

- I been away. I just got your note.

- You were Lara's landlord?

- Yep.

Has she taken over your house yet?

- Yes, how did you--

- Well, she was renting my guest house.

She offered to water my
houseplants when I went

outta town, so I gave her a set of keys.

After that, it was like
she owned the damn place.

- How did you get rid of her?

- Huh, I threw her out.

Caught her taking a bath in my tub.

- She did exactly the same thing to me.

- I found these after she left.

Now, my brother-in-law's a
shrink, and he said they use

this to control certain
types of psychotic behavior.

Delusions, paranoia.

His guess?

She stopped taking them.

(dog barking)

(radio chattering)

- All right, give me a minute.

- [Lara] Okay.

- Oh no.

Officer, this is my house.

What's going on?

- You know this guy?

- [Patti] No.

- [Officer] You ever seen him before?

- [Patti] I have no idea who he is.

- Leave him alone, that's my boyfriend.

Let go of him.

- Sweetie, that's Peter?

- Yes, we were gonna surprise
you and take you to dinner.

Only I had class.

- That creep tried to attack me.

- That is not true.

- You musta sent him to intimidate me!

Does this woman have to kill me

before it becomes a police matter?

(women shouting)

- Hey, hey, hey, all right, lady.

(women shouting)

- All right, ladies, separate
corners now, separate corners.

- [Lara] This is so ridiculous.

- Easy, all right?

- He never touched her.

- Officer, please, just
tell me what happened.

- This lady called us, said
she was being attacked.

- She's totally out of control.

She's crazy.

You know, I go to bed at night wondering

if she's gonna kill me in my sleep.

- You can't just arrest him.

- Can't you just arrest her?

- Unfortunately, no.

- She's mentally ill.

- Well, she--

- Unless she hurts me?

- You can file a formal complaint.

Would you like to do that?

- There is, there's one
thing that you can do.

- Miss Lewis, I can't discuss any aspects

of your case until the eviction hearing.

- I understand, Your Honor,
but I'm actually afraid

I might not make it that far.

Last night was the second time
I've had to call the police.

The situation is escalating.

I was hoping to get a temporary

restraining order against her.

- Miss Lewis, we don't
just hand those things out.

It's a very serious procedure.

- And this is a very serious
situation, Your Honor.

I shouldn't have to live
in fear for my life.

Should I?

- No.

All right, I'll grant you a
TRO, but only till Monday,

at which time I wanna see both parties.

In the meantime, Miss Lewis,

try not to exacerbate
the situation, all right?

- Of course not, Your Honor.

(doorbell ringing)

- Good evening, Mrs. Young,

we received a call that
you're trespassing.

- Trespassing? What do you--

- Were you served with a TRO?

- I don't know what that is.

- She's lying ... again.

- I'm afraid this is a legal document.

- This is, this is,

this is ludicrous.

You can't just take
somebody out of their house.

- Officer, are you going to enforce this?

- I'll give you a few minutes
to collect some clothing

and some personal stuff.

Then I'm gonna have to have
you leave the premises.

- Leave?

What is wrong with you people?

This is my home!

(crickets chirping)

(soft music)

(siren blaring)

- Your Honor, my client
has owned and occupied

her house for almost 20 years.

She merely rented Miss Lewis a room.

- Counselor, the lease is
not specific about that.

- With all due respect, Your Honor,

that's no reason to bar
her from her own home.

This is nothing more than retaliation

for an eviction notice.

- Miss Lewis?

- Your Honor, this woman
has made my life miserable,

with constant threats and harassment.

She's dangerous.

With a history of this kind of behavior.

She was arrested for breaking into

her ex-husband's apartment.

- Your Honor, no formal
charges were ever made.

- This is a citation from
the health department

after she turned off the heat

and wouldn't repair the plumbing.

- No, that's not the way--

- Just a minute, Counselor, please.

- Here's a letter my lawyer sent her.

Obviously, she ignored it.

- [Judge] Why isn't your lawyer here now?

- One hour of his time was all
I could afford, Your Honor.

- That is from my
ex-husband. She tricked him.

All you have to do is pick
up the phone and call him.

- Ms. Young, the court
does not make phone calls.

- Patti, you're not helping.

Your Honor, Miss Lewis
gave false information

to the attorney in question.

We could get an affidavit from him.

We also have one from her former landlord

that states she behaved
in a similar fashion.

- My previous landlord tried
to rape me, Your Honor.

- Come on!

- Your Honor.

- All right, that's enough.

Sit down, please.

Since the eviction action
is pending, I'll not get

into the larger issues involved here.

Ms. Young, I'll modify the
order to allow you to return

home, but you will have to
live with certain restrictions.

- Your Honor.

- Take it easy, Mr. Simpson.

- Miss Lewis, you are not
to be upstairs at any time,

nor in any of the shared
areas of the house

after seven o'clock in the morning.

Ms. Young, you are not to
be downstairs at any time

except to enter or leave the premises,

between the hours of nine AM and seven PM.

Anything anybody doesn't understand?

- With all due respect,
Your Honor, it is her house.

- And my courtroom.

Now pay attention, ladies.

If either of you violates
this order in any way,

for any reason at any
time, I will immediately

order you off the property.

Is that clear?

(clock tolling)

- Can you hang on until
the eviction hearing?

- Oh yeah. I hope it goes
better than this one.

(soft suspenseful music)

- It's not your time.

- I'm just taking out the trash.

See what happens when
you leave food around?

- Romeo!

(soft suspenseful music)

(door closing)

(soft music)

- (gasps) Oh my God, no no, no no.

(hard breathing)

(soft suspenseful music)

(hard breathing)

(soft suspenseful music)

(engine starting)

(soft suspenseful music)

- It doesn't help us.

- She violated the judge's orders.

- This doesn't help us.
It's your word against hers.

(soft suspenseful music)

- What if she had actually stabbed me?

Would that have helped us?

- I know what you're going through.

- No, you don't.

- All I'm saying is we need proof.

- But--

- Patti.

(soft suspenseful music)

Look, I have a hearing
in two minutes, okay?

Call me later.

- Yeah, sure.

If I'm still alive.

(soft suspenseful music)

- [Alan] I'm calling from California.

I'm a friend of your daughter's.

- You must have the wrong Lewis.

I don't have a daughter.

- [Alan] You're not related to Lara Lewis.

- Lara?

She's in California?
She's okay, isn't she?

- No, not really.

- [Chef] What's wrong, and
why's she using my name?

- Your name?

I'm sorry, I don't.

- Her real name is Lara Lipski.

Just how well do you know her?

- We're friends. We work together.

- She used to work for me too.

Beautiful girl.

But all kindsa trouble.

- In what way?

- Had some mental problems.

My wife said Lara tried to run
her over in the parking lot.

But I never believed that.

So, what's wrong with Lara now?

Hello, hello.

(soft suspenseful music)

(floorboards squeaking)

(soft suspenseful music)

- You sick fucking bitch.


(punches striking)

(dramatic music)



Open the door, you fucking bitch!

Do you hear me?

Open the door, I'll fucking kill you!

Open the door!

(dramatic music)

- She's in her room right now.

I want you to arrest her.

- Whoa, whoa whoa, whoa whoa whoa.

Did anybody see her attack you?

- Will you look at my face?

- I believe you, but in
order for me to arrest her,

I need proof that she went after you.

- She broke the restraining order.

She was upstairs. I taped it.

- Can we see it?

- Yes, she's got it.

(soft suspenseful mu sic)

- She's in my room,
Officer. You're my witness.

Take her away.

- [Patti] It's over, Lara.

- [Recording] I'll fucking kill you!

- Give me that!

- Whoa, whoa, whoa.

- Let go of me!

- Hey, you're under arrest.

Take her outside.

Get her outta here.

(dog barking)

(radio chattering)

(soft dramatic music)

Put her in the car. I need a minute here.

(radio chattering)

- Watch your head.

- Let me get another unit down here,

take you to the emergency room.

Your eye needs attention.

- Actually, it's my
foot that's killing me.

But I'm all right on my own.

- Are you sure?

- Yeah, positive.

(soft music)

(engine starting)

(door closing)

(engine revving)

(soft music)

(crickets chirping)



(soft suspenseful music)

(car door closing)

(soft suspenseful music)

- Oh, you really look lovely in it.

- It's beautiful.

You know, I'm gonna
bring my bridesmaids in.

- Great, this is a sweet veil.

We can do your whole wedding party.

- That would be so cool.

- Hi.

- Hey.

- You know, I think I wanna
try the other dress on.

- Sure, I've got it laid
out in the dressing room.

- Okay.

- I'm so sorry.

- Oh, sweetie.

- [Jill] Why didn't you call?

- It happened very fast.

- Oh, you look like hell.

- Thank you.

- You know what I mean. Are you okay?

- Yes, I'm fine.

- She's in jail, right?

- Mm-hm.

- Listen, Mom, I wasn't there
for you for the divorce,

and now this Lara
nightmare, I'm really sorry.

- It's okay, sh sh sh sh.

(door dinging)


- Hi.

Wow, this place looks great.

- Thank you.

- Did a hell of a job.

People actually wear this stuff?

- You know, it must be exhausting.

- What?

- Acting like a schmuck all the time.

- No, not really.


Are you all right?

- Mm-hm, yeah.

- Good.

I'll take it.


- I was doing okay,

until I ran outta medication.

I was going to refill
it, but it makes me, um,

fuzzy around the edges.

I'm a scientist. I need to focus.

- [Alan] Listen, if
you were supposed to be

taking it regularly.

- I've gone off it before, and I'm,

I'm fine, for a while, and then I get, um,

anxious and I need comfort.

Like, like what you get from a home.

All I want is a home, not
these ... these pills.

But no matter how hard I
try to make a place my own

and make myself feel better, I get,

I get even more confused, and I,

I don't even know what's real.

- Why did you take bacteria from the lab?

- I wanted to die.

- You what?

You were gonna kill yourself?


- I had decided to go back
on the medication, but

they wouldn't refill my prescription

unless I went back to the shrink.

- [Alan] So why didn't you just go back?

- Because he brings it all back.

The past.

I can't think about what
it was like anymore.

I just, I can't.

- Why didn't you come to me?

Why didn't you tell me the truth?

- I was afraid

you'd hate me.

- Lara, I could never hate you.

- You gotta get me outta here, Alan.

If I stay in here, I
will die, I swear I will.

- If I bail you out,

will you let me take care of you?


- Yeah.

Yeah, I'll do whatever
you want, I swear I will.

- Okay.

(soft dramatic music)

(crickets chirping)

(soft piano music)

(soft dramatic music)

- Lara?

What's wrong?

- What's wrong?

What's wrong is that
you think ... with this.


And you're no genius.

(phone ringing)

(dog barking)

(classical piano music)

- [Alan] Patti, this is
Alan, the guy from the lab.

(classical piano music)

I bailed Lara outta jail,
and she flipped out.

She got away from me.

She's probably headed to
your house, and I called

the police, but you
better get outta there.

I'm sorry.

(classical piano music)

(soft suspenseful music)

(dog barking)

(crickets chirping)

(soft suspenseful music)


- Oh, can you believe this?

(soft suspenseful music)

(crickets chirping)

(water lapping)

(door creaking)

(dramatic music)

- Lose something?



(dramatic music)

- Get out!

(dramatic music)

(hard breathing)


(dramatic music)


(dramatic music)


(dramatic music)



(hard breathing)

(soft music)

- Hold me?


(dog barking)

(group chattering)

(radio chattering)

(crickets chirping)

- Thank you.

- [Officer] Folks, why
don't you step back, please?

(group chattering)

- I'm going home.

(soft piano music)

(radio chattering)

(soft piano music)

- You okay?
- I'm fine.

(soft piano music)

- Oh.

(soft dramatic music)


(soft music)

Can't catch a break.

(soft piano music)

(gentle music)