HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Boy Next Door
HTS Overall Score:74.5
I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time. By the end of “The Boy Next Door” I was having a hard time recovering, with aching sides and an eyeful of tears. The only problem is, the movie isn’t a comedy. Based off the old 1980s and 1990s “crazy person stalks their jilted lover” movies where one person has a moment of weakness, becomes intimate with a gorgeous/handsome stranger and then the whole situation spirals violently out of control and everyone realizes said handsome/gorgeous stranger is actually a psycho. There, end of story, I’ve pretty much told you the whole scenario right there. Directed by Rob Cohen, of such wonderful fame as “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” and “xXx : State of the Union”, comes a delightfully cheesy and schlocky little thriller that would be a complete and utter blast if it wasn’t hampered by some of the worst dialog and writing I have heard in a decent budgeted theatrical release.
Claire Peterson (Jennifer Lopez) is recovering with her son, Kevin (Ian Nelson), after a rough breakup wither her cheating husband, Garrett (John Corbett). She’s frustrated, lonely, and after some time feels as if she would be better off with her husband, who seems to be making a real effort at changing his ways. A monkey wrench gets thrown into the situation in the form of a handsome high school senior (actually almost 20 years old for some reason) in the form of Ryan Guzman with all his six packs and incredible physique to boot. Noah (Guzman) is here in town to take care of his great uncle during a recent surgery and his charm wins over just about everyone he comes in contact with. At first it’s simple things, like Noah giving Kevin a hand with manual labor type things (something Kevin isn’t exactly adept at) and soon enough he’s helping out around the house. There’s an obvious attraction between Claire and Noah, one which no one would ever broach normally, but soon enough temptation comes along and Claire falls right into it.
Realizing her stupid mistake, Claire tries to tell Noah it was a mistake, that she wants to make it work with her separated husband and that he should back off, but little does she know that Noah is a powder keg ready to explode. Noah’s simple adoration soon turns into a wild obsession with Claire that spirals out of control into a mess that looks like cleaning up will ruin more than a few lives. Noah stalks Claire mercilessly, refusing to give her a moment’s peace, driving a wedge between her and Kevin and between Kevin and Garrett in a frantic attempt to keep what he believes is rightfully his. Soon it becomes clear that there is more to Noah than just a disturbed teenager, as Claire digs up more information about his past than makes her comfortable, such information that will lead to a brutal conclusion that will change their lives in a big way.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=43610[/img]I saw the trailer months ago and dove on the chance to watch “The Boy Next Door”. I love these horribly schlocky obsession thrillers as I grew up watching Michael Douglass and others star in them for decades. They aren’t exactly high art, but then again they were never intended to be that way. The claustrophobic feeling of being stalked by someone so close to you is electrifying and creates for a tense watch. “The Boy Next Door” shows many of those same traits. Noah is a hunk of a guy, and J-Lo is the vulnerable woman (who looks incredible for her age I might add) and Rob Cohen is perfect with spreading cheese around with a knife in such a way that you can’t help but giggle and love every bite. On one hand I got exactly that. The plot is predictable, the outcome even more so, with an ending confrontation that satisfied every banal desire for revenge on the crazed psychopath that you could ever desire. However, the horrific writing just dropped the experience down to a level that even I couldn’t enjoy. I alternated either laughing hysterically at the unintentional comedy unraveling before my very eyes, or holding my head in my hands and screaming “make it stop! Make it STOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP”!
I’m honestly conflicted on the movie. On one hand, I really enjoyed the recycled plots, the totally predictable ending and the cookie cutter characters because that’s exactly what I was expecting from the film. It’s like going into a meal knowing that you’re eating Mac N’ cheese. It’s cheap, it’s unhealthy for you, but it’s a comfort food that just satisfies. Even if you pay for it with a sick stomach from too much white pasta and chemicals that tries pass itself off as “cheese” sauce. The same is true with “The Boy Next Door”. I loved the obviously clichéd ending and the over the top acting, but at the same time I’m honestly flabbergasted at the horrible writing and dialog. This is something that I would have expected from a cheap DTV parody film like “Transmorphers” or something from Ewe Boll, not a blockbuster release. It’s mildly entertaining, but the bad parts are so bad that I honestly can’t decide whether I should re-watch my copy or burn it with fire.
Rated R for violence, sexual content/nudity and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=43618[/img]“The Boy Next Door” comes to Blu-ray, thanks to Universal Studios, with a simply fantastic looking 2.40:1 AVC encoded transfer. The movie is naturally warm with nice and natural colors that pop off the screen. It looks almost as if it was taken from a film source, even though it was actually shot digitally. The picture is devoid of any digital abnormalities and showcases some incredible looking detail, from Ryan Guzman’s chiseled abs and sweaty muscles to the intricate design work on some of J-Lo’s clothing. Contrast levels are well within reason and the inky blacks that dominate some of the “dark and stormy night” scenes look absolutely superb. I did notice the skin tones looked a tad warmish, but it's a very subtle ruddy look to it. A stellar transfer that is easily the best part of the whole movie.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=43626[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track does a good job, but surprisingly doesn’t excel as much as I would have expected. The dialog centric track is a bit front heavy, but still crystal clear and well nuanced up there with the three mains. Surrounds are used mildly to enrich the experience with some subtle ambiance, but that sense of dread and submersion in suspense just isn’t there due to the mild usage of the surround channels. LFE is solid, but not powerful, as it adds a nice weighty feeling to some of the more intense encounters between Claire and Noah. Some gunshots and cracks of thunder set a nice “high end” for the movie, but there really isn’t a wild amount of power flowing through those veins. It’s good, very good in fact, just not as robust and exciting as the genre can deal out.
• The Making of "The Boy Next Door"
• Deleted Scenes
• Audio Commentary
“The Boy Next Door” is a formulaic throwback to those old 90s stalker thrillers, just without a lot of the charm and fun that went along with those movies. The acting is decent, and the plot holds its own, but the end result is hampered by horrific dialog and some hackneyed directing by Rob Cohen. The audio and visuals are excellent to fantastic so those of you who would like to check it should be satisfied with the technical merits. This movie hovers between a rental and a skip it recommendation so I will say that you’re better off renting it first if you’re actually interested in the film.
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, Ian Nelson
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Written by: Barbara Curry
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish DTS 5.1
Runtime: 91 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: April 28th 2015
Buy The Boy Next Door On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Low Rental
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