Monday, 3 October 2011



Another dreary slog through the wacky world of torture porn and, while that label is often incorrectly applied to the likes of Saw and Hostel, it's actually quite appropriate here as there's nothing else going on. It's exclusively concerned with torture and violence, gore and murder; it's not interested in character or narrative as the characters are uninteresting and the narrative nothing but a flimsy thread on which to hang the scenes of screaming and bloodshed. Whole reels of Friday The 13ths and Halloweens go by without anything horrible happening but the overwhelming bulk of this independent cheapie consists of nothing but sadistic violence and splatter. With no level of emotional connection, the sole thrust of the film is the extended scenes of torture and with no rationale to explain why it's happening, it's just an empty succession of nasty gore effects. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is porn.

Presumably Neighbor refers to the unnamed woman played by America Olivo (she's also in Transformers 3, Bitch Slap and the Friday The 13th remake, so by now she can surely recognise a rotten movie when she's hired to be in one) although there's no actual evidence that she's anyone's neighbour in particular. She's basically a homicidal maniac, merrily torturing and killing without a whiff of conscience or remorse; she sets her sights on Don (Christian Campbell, Neve's brother), a local musician gearing up for a performance of his band's new album. And then spends the rest of the movie maiming and injuring him, and murdering his friends and loved ones. Or does she? Midway through it appears she's been dealt with but is that a fantasy? Or does the remainder of the film take place in Don's traumatised imagination?

The violence, which includes drilled feet and thighs, eyelids stapled open, finger-lopping, facial acid burns and slashed limbs, is undeniably well executed with terrific gore prosthetics. The one horror that we don't see, and frankly I can't complain much about the BBFC removing 19 seconds of this, has The Girl inserting a metal rod into Don's penis. But there's no sense of reason behind it - presumably they wanted to make The Girl an unfathomable and incomprehensible monster who does what she does just because, not unlike the maniacs of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Probably any explanation would be redundant, and would feel grafted on, but if you're going to set the film in a real suburban world (rather than the exaggerated wasteland of TCM) the characters also need to be rooted in that world as well. There's no mention made of how many people The Girl has killed already, and no mention of how she's managed to evade the law.

And: Carpenter, Hitchcock, Landis, Hodder, Kane, Shaye, Cunningham. You are once again stamping on very thin ice by naming all your characters after genre actors and directors and littering the script with movie references. A respectful tip of the hat is one thing but unless your own movie is worthy of those names and nods then it's just fanboy name-dropping. Halloween was able to do it, Night Of The Creeps got away with it. This doesn't because it's simply not a good enough movie to justify evoking those names (and Shaye and Cunningham I'm not sure I'd classify as genre greats anyway), although I don't think any of the names are actually spoken so it's an injoke reserved for the end credits anyway.

It's an ugly movie, it's a charmless movie, and without much reason to care about or be much interested in any of the characters, good or bad, it's a dull movie. The spectre of a sequel - in which The Girl presumably moves to another town and inflicts meaningless cruelty on another random bunch of people - raises its head at the end and over the closing credits like it's a James Bond movie. Please don't. This is just horrible.


No comments: