NEIGHBOR

http://www.fearyourneighbor.com/

USA 2009  Directed by: Robert A. Masciantonio  Written by: Robert A. Masciantonio  Produced by: Charles Smith  Cinematography by: Jeff Schirmer  Editing by: R. Emmet Sibley  Music by: Kurt Oldman  Cast: America Olivio, Christian Campbell, Lauren Rooney, Pete Postiglione, Joe Aniska, Sarah McCarron, Amy Rutledge, Mink Stole, Meredith Orlow, Giovanna Galdi, Tracy Toth, Robert A. Masciantonio, Stink Fisher, Megan Madsen

Does it sound cynical saying you’re bored by a movie that depicts torture and mutilation from beginning to end? Even though it’s not the on-screen violence in particular that makes you yawn frequently throughout NEIGHBOR, it is true nevertheless that the film, despite its acts of cruelty, leaves you unimpressed and strangely detached from what’s happening.

NEIGHBOR is not the first film of its kind, and it’s certainly not the best: most of what makes up the backbone of the story are common genre ingredients, presented as a salad buffet of best-of moments. Built upon what feels like a remake of Skip Wood’s THURSDAY director Robert A. Masciantonio is juggling around with serial killer motifs, revenge flick excerpts and editing techniques of psychological thrillers, without ever coming to a conclusive result.

An even bigger problem is the choice of the lead actress: America Olivio is portraying her character with harrowing overacting, incapable of nuances or adding the slightest human touch or personality to the figure she plays. Ms. Olivio is not exactly talented, and that’s too little to make a film centered around a single character work. Imagine HENRY played by Ron Howard, and you get the idea. Thanks to Ms. Olivio, NEIGHBOR tends to be unintentionally comedic most of the time, not hauntingly realistic.

If you have ever studied serial killers you will have noticed that no matter how insane they seem, or irrational, they always have a very good reason to kill, even if that “good reason” is only a good reason in their world. Unfortunately, Mr. Masciantonio believes that a serial killer movie is all about killing and neglects the fact that serial killers are driven by lust, fear, dead mothers or slimy soap bars. The reason NEIGHBOR never feels threatening is because “the girl” is unreal, like a remote-controlled, lifeless robot without a purpose, and all that’s left for the audience is to sympathize with the victims (played by a solid cast, surprisingly).

Bottom line is there is just no real story to NEIGHBOR, nothing the movie is “about”, what puts it in the neighborhood of THE TOURIST. So don’t waste your time, and grab a copy of DREAM HOME instead.

J.

 


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