Neighbor (The Unrated Director’s Cut) is the latest torture film to hit video stores this month. Distributed in Canada by Maple Pictures, the same company that heads the mighty Saw franchise, Neighbor has been getting mixed reviews from critics around the globe. With films like Saw or Hostel you’ll either love them or hate them – with very little thoughts in between. Once you enter the realm of low budget versions of the genre, this is where it gets messy.
Neighbor tells the story of a young attractive woman (America Olivo) who moves from house to house in a local neighbourhood, torturing and killing along the way. The torture in the film mainly focuses on Don (Christian Campbell), a musician who gets trapped in his basement recording studio. His friends and bandmates get quick and brutal deaths as the slowly tortured Don watches on.
Olivo is adorable and played the part well, but I would have loved to see more of her twisted sense come out – all the great crazies, such as Hannibal Lector and Jigaw, seemed to have an inner soul that lets their twisted counterparts out now and then, and Olivo could have relied a bit more on her inner twisted side. There could have been a bit more back story to her character that might have helped portray this. Meanwhile, Campbell played the torture part extremely well and actually makes you feel remorse for his pain and suffering, especially when his privates are not so privately attacked. Campbell and the films use of effects made you believe he was feeling the pain.
Neighbor might have benefitted more with a single concentrated storyline by writer/director Robert A. Masciantonio, rather than a couple brief attempts with time shifting and dream sequences – the way it was presented leaves you a bit confused and distracted from what previously happened.
As much as this film has going for it, with well executed effects and very original torture scenes, a little more time on the storyline would have made Neighbor a door-locking experience. Instead, Neighbor leaves you sitting on the front porch.