Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Neighbor (2009)

Don't ya hate it when a movie feels like it came out too late? This happened in the late 80's when the horror genre saw a glut of terrible slasher movie that went straight to VHS and were too little too late as far as catching lightening in a bottle, as the sub-genre had gone out of favor. Same has happened to the torture genre. What was once something of interest ("Saw", "Hostel" and "Martyrs") has gone the way of "who really gives a shit?" ("The Butcher", "Train" and "The Final.") You can add Robert A. Masciantonio's "Neighbor" as another "too little too late" entry.

A mysterious, unnamed girl (America Olivio) has moved into a nice Canadian suburb, and has made it her mission to torture, maim and kill anyone unlucky enough to cross her path. In particular are Don Carpenter (Christen Campbell), his wife and his friends.

If "Neighbor" gets anything right, it's that the direction isn't bad, and the acting is strong. Particularly strong is Olivio as the girl, who apart from some annoying pop culture quipping, manages to do a great job. She's always menacing and creepy, without ever overdoing or overstaying her welcome, making her one of the more interesting torture junkies in a while.

That's not enough to save the movie though. While I like that the movie creates a shroud of mystery for her, the fact that absolutely no reason is suggested or even hinted at hurts the movie. In fact, there is little if any logic to this movie. Why is it that nobody can tell that this clearly unbalanced woman is up to no good? Why are there so many coincidences and plot points that go unexplained? Nothing is answered at all. Then there's the fact that in the end of the day, it's just another torture movie, and like so many recent entries, the violence feels mechanical and uninvolved. You can only show people being tortured for so long until it just becomes dull. Add to a rather sudden conclusion and the fact that it promises a sequel, and you get a movie that annoys more than intrigues.

Sure, it has it's pluses, but there are so many things going against "Neighbor" that it would probably if you didn't see it. You've seen it before for the most part.

Rating: 3/10

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