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"Dark... Disturbing... Think Miike’s AUDITION meets Oshima’s REALM OF THE SENSES" — Donato Totaro, OFFSCREEN
Director: Robert Masciantonio
Screenplay: Robert Masciantonio
Cast: America Olivo, Christian Campbell, Lauren Rooney, Pete Postiglione
Producers: Charles Smith
Distributor: Neighbor Productions, LLC
Ladies and gentlemen, step right up and prepare to be smashed down hard because we’re about to unveil a twisted little ditty that goes further down the shock freeway than you could ever want a film to go. Behold: NEIGHBOR—a film that caused its own editor to vomit! An unnamed girl (America Olivo, last seen in the FRIDAY THE 13TH remake) wanders through a posh suburban neighbourhood, breaking into homes and... staying a while. Usually for just a couple of days, during which period she passes the time torturing and slaughtering anyone who happened to be home when she got there. She’s not a very nice person—which isn’t to say that she isn’t personable. She can actually be rather charming when she needs to be. Downright manipulative, sometimes. Enter Don (Christian Campbell), a young bachelor who lives alone in a rather large house on a street our girl happens to be eyeing. She’s seen him before in a bar and she knows he’s seen her back. Before he knows it, Don finds himself tied up in girl trouble. Literally tied up, and very much in trouble, the kind that involves broken bones and power-drilled toes—for starters. Don’s got a huge house party coming up in a few days. This gives our girl plenty of time to stage a punishment party of her own, and anyone who happens to drop by unannounced gets to join in the festivities.
NEIGHBOR is one of those films that will have even the most jaded audiences squirming and screaming by the 30-minute mark. If you couldn’t handle the last act of Miike’s AUDITION, this isn’t the film for you. Nearly the entire second half is an astonishing, Grand Guignol series of extreme sequences that seriously push the envelope—character-driven, mind you, and nothing like the so-called “torture porn” wave, this is smart, freaky stuff. Writer/director Robert Masciantonio toys with his audience through temporal shifts and visual sleight-of-hand, the distressingly convincing make-up effects, which include several we’ve never seen done before, further “sweetening” the deal. Shot, rather fittingly, on the Red One system, NEIGBOR cleverly flips the gender roles of classic exploitation cinema staples, giving us a lone woman who terrorizes a series of mostly very frightened and defenseless men. Love they neighbour? Depends on where your pain threshold lies. We can’t imagine finding a nastier film this year. Watch out for an inspired four-minute steadicam shot and an appearance by John Waters vet Mink Stole.