July 29, 2010

Neighbor (2009)

(AKA Robert Angelo Masciantonio's Neighbor)

"A mysterious new girl arrives in a posh suburban neighborhood and quickly sets out to terrorize the town. As she starts breaking into homes and torturing the occupants, they begin to realize that she isn't just another girl next door."

I don't know why I torture myself with these low-budget movies but here's another one. This time, appropriately enough, it really is a "torture porn" but with a slightly different style to most of the others that I've seen. This one has an alternative ending right in the middle of the film!

Although cut down from the version shown at various conventions and festivals, there are quite a few gory scenes with some very good effects considering that there was probably hardly any budget for this film at all once the actors had been paid. You may recognise a few faces here and there from various American TV shows since, although it feels like a Canadian movie, it was in fact filmed in Pennsylvania.

I'm not going to spend too much time reviewing this DVD since it's not really something that anybody will go out of their way to watch. If you just think of "Misery" but with a hot psycho chick instead of Kathy Bates then you can more or less guess where the director, Robert Angelo Masciantonio, went with this. He didn't do a bad job I suppose but there's nothing really outstanding here. A lot of the torture happens off screen so you can either imagine the bad things happening or completely disregard them. I chose to do the latter.

America Olivo plays the psycho. You've probably never heard of her, but she played Amanda in the awful "Friday the 13th" remake. She doesn't even get a name in this film as she is just credited as "The Girl". She calls herself Jenn at one point and Christina later on, but none of that is important anyway. She's very attractive and makes this film 100 times more watchable than it could be. I'm not sure if she's playing what she thinks a psycho is really like or goes for comic effect, but either way she's just eye candy and can't really act. There's nothing wrong with that though. I could look at her all day.

Another recognisable TV face is that of Christian Campbell who has the dubious honour of being the main victim, Don. He looks familiar, but I can't actually place him in anything. I think he must do a lot of bit parts. Some really nasty stuff happens to him which I won't spoil for you, but it's nothing compared to anything you'd see in "Hostel" or some of the even more creative low-budget movies out there.

There's nobody else that you will have ever heard of unless you watch enough bad movies to even know the name Mink Stole. She often plays the old lady part in these straight to video releases although her real claim to fame is from working for John Waters in various grotesque roles. She does a pretty good job in yet another minor role here too.

I suppose I should go back to the weird placement of the alternative ending. It's about 40 minutes in and, in my opinion, everything should have stopped there. Sometimes less is more and this would have been a nice little short with good characterisation and all that jazz if it had stayed that way. Unfortunately, there was an attempt at making things clever by passing that scene off as some kind of wish fulfilment, and everything that follows is what really happens to the victims up until the unhappy end of the film. You could call it an excuse to add a few more badly done torture scenes, but it makes the central section of the film a bit redundant and somewhat confusing. If it had stayed more linear then it would have been a much better story. Having said that, it was nice to get another 30 minutes of America Olivo.

I can't really recommend "Neighbor" because it really is the kind of thing that would be shown on Zone Horror late at night when nobody is paying attention or end up being sold from a table at low-budget horror movie conventions. It has quite good production values, but that's what I expect as the norm anyway. I will give it credit for not being an obvious handycam nasty.

If you really are that desperate to see a pretty brunette torture people with amusing comments every so often then by all means hire this from Netflix or something. An alternative would be "Sick Girl" which is by far a better film but without quite such a sexy actress in it.

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