Tuesday, October 25, 2016
The Neighbor (2016)
DIRECTOR: Marcus Dunstan
Ronnie Gene Blevins
A small-time criminal couple is currently laying low in the town of Cutter, Mississippi. They quickly discover that they have more significant problems when their neighbour introduces himself to the couple. What comes across as odd turns out to be far darker when John returns home to find his girlfriend Rosie has disappeared. John soon finds that his neighbour hides a much more dangerous secret in his basement that he could have ever imagined.
The Neighbor was the second film in my themed night of bad neighbours. I watched The Good Neighbor earlier and followed it up with what I assumed was going to be the more violent movie of the two films. The Neighbor is from the team behind The Collector and The Collection. A film series that seemed to take inspiration from the SAW movies. While I enjoyed the first film in that series, I found myself tiring with the second. Here we see them team up again.
Going into The Neighbor, I felt like this latest film was going to be very similar and in line with movies like The Good Neighbor, Rear Window, and Disturbia. After the same reservations that I had with The Good Neighbor, they were realised here. I was right in my concerns as the film really doesn't add all that much new to the 'Evil Neighbor' storyline. The latest adds a captive and kidnapping subplot to the story, but I found myself guessing where this newest movie was going, pretty early on.
I found myself pretty bored by The Neighbor. The first and second act of the story slowly builds the plot towards its somewhat predictable final showdown. We know immediately that the movie will end in a bloodbath when we are introduced to the neighbour. When it's revealed what the neighbour is involved in, it's not exactly a surprise where things end up going. The film treads a very familiar track. It never tries to be anything more than a kidnapping thriller.
When it comes to the third act of the film. I was expecting the movie to throw in a clever twist or two or even add a few shocks to switch things up in the story. Sadly, the film never does. The Neighbor just goes from criminals hiding out, to meeting the threat, to kidnapping the girlfriend, to rescue mission and finally getting revenge. It really does feel by the numbers. I guess with a movie that has a poster like it does, I expected something a lot darker.
The winning element of The Neighbor for me was the supporting performance from Alex Essoe. She starts off like the criminal girlfriend who appears to be a damsel in distress, but by the third act, she becomes a kickass, take-no-shit fighter who starts beating people's heads in with a camera tripod. I thought that her role was the real standout in The Neighbor. She continues to deliver after her excellent turn in the disturbing Starry Eyes.
Josh Stewart who I'm well aware of due to his performance in The Collector and The Collection is again the leading man who is a tough guy. I think he gets overshadowed by Alex Essoe. This isn't a role that is new to Josh Stewart, he's done it all before in the previous films and could perform it in his sleep. I feel that if they all team up for the fourth time, they'll need to switch up the roles and have him play the villain as the good guy is getting old.
When it comes to the violence, The Neighbor shouldn't disappoint. The movie is quite bloody. It's not as gruesome and intelligent as The Collector, but it still has a few gory moments that will keep most horror fans happy. When it comes to being suspenseful, I don't think the movie is all that scary. The film is more edge of your seat than flat-out creepy. This is more about the loud noises and jump scares than the successful tension building.
Visually, I think The Neighbor is less polished than The Collector and The Collection. The movie has a slightly impressive, almost grindhouse looking opening credit scene which I thought was pretty neat. The movie is mainly set in two houses. The film feels very confined like The Collector but has an almost grittiness that The Collector didn't. Overall, it is another well-filmed movie from Marcus Dunstan. I would like to see what he could do given a hefty budget.
DEATH TOLL: 8
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A bloody bloodshot wound.
- A man covered in blood is struck and killed.
- A hole is full of animal guts.
- Someone is choked to death with animal intestines.
- Someone is shot in the head.
- Someone is shot in the cheek.
- People are gunned down.
- People are bashed to death with a camera tripod.
- Someone is shot in the face with a shotgun.
- A wrist is cut open when removing handcuffs.
The Neighbor is a run-of-the-mill kidnapping thriller that isn't so much a horror film as it is an average revenge thriller. The Neighbor over the course of it's running time doesn't try to add any real shocks or twists to the plot. The is a film that is ultimately predictable. The best element of the film comes in the form of the lead performance by Alex Essoe. She is the real standout of The Neighbor. If you want to see this team in fine form, watch The Collector and it's sequel.