The Neighbour is an adequately tense thriller from director Marcus Dunstan. The film shifts in genre, with some aspects more successful than others.
John and Rosie live remotely in Cutter, Mississippi. When a neighbour appears, the pair are suspicious. After an incident, John decides to investigate what is happening in his neighbour’s house…
Director and co-writer Marcus Dustan is delivers a film that is engaging for the most part. The Neighbour has enough mystery in its first third to keep viewers guessing. The film takes obvious cues from Hitchcock’s Rear Window in its set up. Dunstan then subverts pre-conceived perceptions by shifting things around. The film reveals a surprising incident fairly early on in proceedings. This leads to a transformation of genre. The film keeps a suitable level of tension, although how this is generated does change.
In the second half of the film, the narrative takes an interesting turn. Here, the genre shifts from thriller to action. This dissipates much of the tension, although The Neighbour never becomes boring. In its climax, the genre transforms again, leaving a torture-pornesque finale. It is a shame, as the film begins rather well. Dunstan harks back to his The Collector roots doing this, and the result does not feel satisfying.
The film’s setting is good, giving a necessary undercurrent of isolation and untrustworthiness. The stylist opening and closing credits are also a plus. It is a shame, however, that these same effects were employed in the driving sequences. The Neighbour looks best in its interior scenes. Some of the exterior sequences, particularly the brightly-lit night scene at the end, highlight the limitations of shooting on digital.
Performances from the main cast of Josh Stewart, Alex Essoe, and Bill Engvall are believable enough. The Neighbour offers good atmospherics and a decent amount of tension. Although perfectly watchable, it is a shame that the strong first third is not carried through to the end.
The Neighbour is out on DVD on 31st October 2016.