Two criminals walk into a bar. Well, actually they live right next to each other and one brings beer to the other’s house. But I digress. They make an agreement that they will basically mind their own businesses and then they live happily ever after. The end. Not really… No… Not at all. Marcus Dunstan’s The Neighbor is a suspenseful and interesting ride that shows his versatility. The Collector (2009) and The Collection (2012) both were clever, white-knuckle gorefests. The Neighbor is an intense, edge-of-your-seat thriller that pays less attention to gore and gives more emphasis to the action.
The Neighbor has a very “grindhouse” feel to it. That is something that more often than not peaks my interest. It tells me that we are going to be on a very fast paced, action packed, pull no punches rollercoaster ride. For the most part, this movie delivers in every single one of those categories. It is reasonably paced and is cut into sections. The beginning introduces everyone, the middle builds suspense until you almost can’t stand it, and the conclusion is balls to the wall crazy. It flows evenly throughout the runtime.
Suspense-wise, this film is amazing. We spend a short time getting to know the lead John, played marvelously by Josh Stewart (The Collector 2009). He is a career criminal who has just completed his last job – sound familiar? He and his wife, Rosie, played by Alex Essoe (Starry Eyes 2014), plan on escaping their lives of crime and taking off to start anew. Everything doesn’t go as planned because when John returns from his last drop all in a hurry to get out of a dodge, Rosie is missing. John suspects his neighbor Troy, played by Bill Engvall (Blue Collar TV), of being responsible and investigates after Troy leaves. He finds his wife locked in a cage in the cellar. Then Troy returns home. Sounds interesting right? Well, for the most part, it is. I have one bone to pick with it before I am through with this review.
Typically, I am not a big fan of the use of guns in a horror film. I find it to be lazy and extremely uncreative. That feeling still hasn’t changed. I was blown away by the creative booby traps in The Collector. That’s what I was hoping I would get when it came to how this film was going to dispatch its characters. Sadly, you will not witness any creative kills within this film’s runtime. This is the only problem I found with it. Characters will be shot, beaten to death and strangled, but there won’t be any Bear Traps In The Dining Room kind of murders. When I hear that Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton are making a movie, I expect certain things. Luckily, I only got shafted on one of them.
Conclusively, I found this film to be rather enjoyable. It delivered a crazy thrill ride that made me cringe in disgust a few times. I want to give a special shoutout to Josh Stewart for once again nailing a role. He could seriously be the next Jason Statham, but for the horror genre. Don’t leave us, Mr. Stewart! The horror community needs great actors like you! I would also like to personally beg for another sequel to The Collector series. Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, I know you can do it. Don’t stop writing for horror regardless. You guys do an amazing job and really deliver what the horror fans want and need. I especially love that you have a unique ability to create suspense. Keep up the great work!
The Neighbor is currently available on all platforms. Go buy yours today and support what the horror genre should be.
Out in the country, everyone seems to have guns and plenty of them. It’s just part of rural America and at least this film got that part right. It’s just too bad that they had a goof or two with the guns when it comes to the damage certain ones actually cause. I nearly turned off the film when I saw the rabbit shot with a rifle (one single hole), but could only have been killed with a shotgun (several holes that tear up the meat). Luckily, I stuck with it though.
However, in today’s world, a lot of people now have security cameras and motion detectors (especially out in the country as I know I and several neighbors do) that were very much missing from this film.