For the next 31 days, we here at Adamantium Bullet will be reviewing one horror flick a day leading up to Halloween. Each one will be horrific, terrifying, chilling, pulse-pounding, or flat-out awful. All endured in honor of the season. Expect SPOILERS. Welcome to Adamantium Bullet’s 31 DAYS OF HORROR.
PLOT: In the town of Cutter, Mississippi, most people keep to themselves. Military vet John (Josh Stewart) is working to escape his uncle’s drug running business and build a new life with his girlfriend, Rosie (Alex Essoe). But John’s plans take an abrupt turn after he returns home to find his girlfriend missing, with the only clue leading to his secretive neighbor, Troy (Bill Engvall). After sneaking onto Troy’s property, John discovers the dark truth about his neighbor, and the secrets Troy keeps in the cellar.
BODY COUNT: 8 …and a few dozen skinned rabbits. Proper count is as follows: Troy kills a teenage boy off-screen, and shoots Uncle Neil (Skipp Sudduth), Guillermo (David Kallaway), and Cole (Mason Guccione). Rosie uses a video camera and tripod to beat down Harley (Ronnie Gene Blevins) and Officer Burns (Jaqueline Fleming). John chokes Cooper (Luke Edwards) to death using a dead rabbit, and shotgun smokes Troy at point blank range.
MOST MEMORABLE KILL: John using a dead rabbit to choke out Cooper was a nasty little bit of horror goodness.
NAKEDNESS: Alex Essoe sports a loose-fitting t-shirt and cut-off jean shorts for most of the first act.
SIGNATURE MOMENT: Bill Engvall, mostly known for his “Here’s your sign” stand-up schtick and various comedies, plays a legit kidnapper/killer/rapist horror big bad in THE NEIGHBOR. His performance can be best described as fierce, frightening, and more than a little f*cked up. Prepare to be impressed every moment he is on-screen.
IDIOT MOMENT: Somewhat surprisingly, THE NEIGHBOR is lacking in IDIOT MOMENTS. The characters act fairly realistically to the situation at hand, and none of them fall into the standard horror/thriller movie clichés. The only real question mark in this flick would be the idea anyone would ever live, or want to live, in Mississippi.
“WTF?!?” MOMENT: Writer/Director Marcus Dunstan’s decision to incorporate random cutaways to Super 8 footage was an odd one. It added nothing to the film, presented weird questions that were never answered (Who is recording John and Rosie in the finale?) and actual audience questions (stark black tabs appear on-screen throughout the film), and ultimately just felt very film school. Avid fart BS like this is a rookie mistake Dunstan – a seasoned pro with two other directorial efforts and more than a dozen writing credits under his belt - should’ve known better than to make.
USELESS KNOWLEDGE: Third feature film collaboration of director Marcus Dunstan and actor Josh Stewart in the lead role. The first two films they collaborated on were THE COLLECTOR and THE COLLECTION. (IMDB)