The Neighbor used under fair practice

MOVIE REVIEW: The Neighbor (2016)


By Dixielord

The Neighbor is the new home invasion horror movie from director Marcus Dunstan. Dunstan is best know for The Collector and its sequel The Collection. The Neighbor stars Josh Stewart (The Collector), Alex Essoe (Starry Eyes) and Bill Engvall (Blue Collar Comedy Tour). Yes that's right. Bill Engvall, Mr “Here's your sign” is starring in a horror film. Now even if you aren't particularly a fan of The Collector series, that should be enough to pique your interest in The Neighbor.

Bill Engvall is The Neighbor / Fair use doctrine.

Josh Stewart plays John who along with his girlfriend Rosie (Alex Essoe) works for his shady crime lord uncle, switching license plates on (apparently) drug running cars. It's never explained exactly what they do, but it's illegal and beyond that, unimportant to the story. Their separative neighbor Troy (Bill Engvall) also appears to have a secret he's of which he is very protective. When Rosie goes missing, John sneaks into Troy’s house and discovers what he is trying to hide.

Set in rural Mississippi, The Neighbor puts everyone under suspicion early on, showing just how sketchy and shady each is. Being born and raised in rural Mississippi, I can pretty much confirm this. No one in the film is particularly innocent, but John is probably the most sympathetic. He's a military vet come home and given a job in his uncle’s illegal enterprise. You get the feeling he isn't happy, and he and Rosie are making plans to escape to Mexico.

The first part of the film moves along a little slow, and is uneventful other than setting up the last half of the film. The last half is where The Neighbor shines. It borrows from other home invasion style horrors with hidden tunnels and cages (but without the traps that were the signature portion of the killer’s work in The Collector series). But it varies from most home invasion films, and most horror films in general, in that the protagonists and antagonists are fairly evenly matched. The conflict between Engvall and Stewart is less cat-and-mouse than two wily foxes battling.

The final fifteen minutes or so is a symphony of glorious violence. It gets brutal when it needs to get brutal. No gimmicky walking away from a fallen victim, it's combat to the death. Guns, knives, camera tripods, and even a telescope become weapons in the fight. When the final battle condenses down to villains and victims, there are no wilting flowers, just fighters. It's not as gory as The Collector, The Collection, or the Sawseries of films but it is brutal. Have I said that already? It's brutal. Watching Alex Essoe go apeshit was wonderful fun. It all ends with an ambiguous ending that a lot of viewers might not catch, but it left me with chills. Also be on the lookout for what I can only assume is a homage to the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Alex Essoe spies on The Neighbor / Fair use doctrine.

All and all I really enjoyed The Neighbor. It's another solid and bloody success for director Dunstan. I enjoyed it enough to give it a 8 out of 10. Check it out on DVD now.

Posted by Allen Alberson

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