Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring America Olivo, Christian Campbell, Mink Stole, Pete Postiglione, Lauren Rooney
Directed by Robert Angelo Masciantonio
Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Wow. Talk about surprises. When this flick came across my desk for review, my initial thoughts were, “Great. More torture porn, starring a chick whose last two movies (Bitch Slap, Friday the 13th remake) I couldn’t stand.” You know that old saying don’t judge a book by its cover? Nowhere does this phrase apply more than it does here in director Robert Angelo Masciantonio’s deliciously dark and humorous slasher flick, Neighbor. More on that in a minute. First the plot crunch.
Honestly? It’s all very basic stuff. Don (Campbell) is a music producer of sorts getting ready to put the finishing touches on his friend’s band’s album. To celebrate this momentous occasion, a party is planned for the weekend that’s bound to be quite the local event. What Don doesn’t know is that a special guest is going to be there … someone known in the movie only as “The Girl” played by a thoroughly lovable and psychotic America Olivo.
You see, this chick doesn’t get her kicks the way the normal party girls do. Instead of drinking and drugs it’s the pain and eventual murder of complete strangers that gets her off. Unluckily for Don his neighborhood is next on her list of places to seriously fuck up, and his party will be her crescendo.
Yes, to a certain degree we’ve seen this all before, but what we haven’t seen is the white hot and completely bat-shit nuts performance turned in by Olivo. Every second she’s onscreen it’s near impossible to take your eyes off of her, and not just because she’s got some truly killer curves. She brings the fire and brings it big time, though it’s the uncompromising and deliberate direction of Robert Angelo Masciantonio that makes her so frightening in this blood-soaked adventure. Here is a guy who knows how to get the most out of his leads, and as a result this is one psycho sandbox horror fans are going to want to play in. The Girl gets my vote as one of the craziest new killers of the decade as she’s 110% evil through and through. Kudos to everyone who helped bring this surprisingly memorable character to life. You’ll be laughing and cringing the whole time.
Speaking of cringing … special mention should be given to the grisly effects work turned in here by Vincent J. Guastini and company. Neighbor has gallons of the red stuff being splashed around with a delightful amount of reckless abandon. This, plus some rock solid performances all around, helps carry this one over the finish line with flying colors. It’s not perfect, though … things get a little disjointed along the way but quickly get back on track. Besides, with all the lunacy happening, you probably won’t even notice.
In terms of supplemental material again we have a winner. Kicking things off we get two commentary tracks. The first with director Robert A. Masciantonio and producer Charles St. John Smith III is actually pretty entertaining and insightful and totally worth a listen. The second one, however? Well, it’s just kind of odd. In it a very rehearsed Dr. Karen Oughton walks us through each scene of the film, explaining why it is so effective. Kind of presumptuous, no? Yes, the movie is effective, but I don’t necessarily think we need anyone telling us why. A very curious addition indeed. Moving on we have three behind-the-scenes featurettes that cover everything from your standard making-of fare to the film’s splattery effects sequences. Again, everyone is on their game here, and the material is nice and brisk. Add on a gag reel, a music video, and the trailer gallery, and we’re done. Pretty good stuff overall.
Neighbor manages to traverse some familiar ground in an exceptionally fresh feeling way. During the end credits the crawl reads that The Girl will be back. If her next go around is anything like this, she can move in anytime she wants. We want more, Mr. Masciantonio. Make it so!
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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