Director: Marcus Dunstan
Distributor: Splendid Film
Duration: 87 minutes
The Neighbor (DVD) – Movie Review
When taking a first glance at the latest batch of arrivals, ‘The Neighbor’ certainly had an interesting cover, albeit a seemingly cliché one. With a story that revolves around a ‘neighbor’ that has a nasty secret, we knew we would be heading through memory lane, as many films in the horror genre tend to start off this way. In the end, we weren’t too far from the truth, even though this movie had a few moments that proved to be rather enjoyable.
John (Josh Stewart) and Rosie (Alex Essoe) live rather secluded, with only one neighbor to worry about. The reason they live so far away from the rest of civilization is because John helps his uncle, who he owes money, to traffic drugs. John is pretty much the middle man, who accepts the cash, and he also changes the plates of the cars that arrive at his doorstep, or drive in his barn to be more precise. It’s clear that John and Rosie want to get away from their current life, and thus they are saving up money to skip town and start a proper life somewhere else, where nobody can find them.
As John is often ‘handling business’ outside, Rosie is stuck watching what the neighbor is up to, and his peculiar behavior is quite worrisome at times. Nonetheless, it seems as if he’s another weird hillbilly that just wants to be left alone. At least until he comes knocking at John’s door, clearly stating he notices a lot of cars driving in with different plates than when they leave the property. He then clearly states that everyone has secrets, as long as they respect each other’s privacy. The latter sounded just peachy to John, but when Rosie spots the neighbor nearly murdering someone the next day, things go south quite fast. Rosie is gone when John comes home, and he immediately knows his neighbor must have something to do with Rosie going missing. He doesn’t like what he finds when checking out his property however.
Not uncommon for a movie such as this, is that it starts off rather slowly, all to go out with a bang. The Neigbor proved to be no exception to said predetermined rule for the genre, and decides to take things slowly, right until the last twenty minutes, where more intense scenes rapidly follow in succession, right in time before the viewer may lose his interest. Nonetheless, the movie also tries to create a certain atmosphere by showing short intermezzos that are seemingly filmed by an antique camera, but the footage shown, such as random locations, a roadkill, and so on feel a bit farfetched or simply not relevant, thus quite ruining the attempt to add another layer to the movie.
Josh Stewart seems to be the only veteran in this cast, as the rest only appeared in lesser known series or movies, which of course isn’t a shame. Nonetheless, Josh’s co-star, Alex Essoe, does a formidable job in playing her fairly timid role as well. Overall there are no complaints in the acting department, which is already a redeeming factor for the otherwise cliché plot.
The DVD release of this title contains no extras, safe for a few trailers for other movies that will be released by Splendid Film. While it’s always nice to have a few fun featurettes next to the movie, this horror flick is clear enough, without any value that could have been added by throwing a ‘making of’ into the mix. After watching the movie, you’ll have had your fill.
The Neighbor isn’t a bad movie, not at all actually, it’s just extremely predictable from start to finish, which makes it just another horror movie that might easily be forgotten in the thousands and thousands of similar movies. If you’re a fan of the genre, this one will present you with a fairly entertaining evening, while remaining on the clean and ‘child-friendly’ side of the genre, thus don’t expect too much gore in this one.