Case Number 08781

THE PERFECT NEIGHBOR

Lionsgate // 2004 // 93 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 10th, 2006

The Charge

Love her or die.

Opening Statement

Seriously, I'd listen to that advice. This lady's bat-@#$% crazy.

Facts of the Case

Here we have Donna (Barbara Niven). Fleeing from a questionable past, Donna Germaine hauls her mentally unstable butt to her dear aunt's house, where she hopes to start anew. But it isn't long before reality begins to slip. When she spots her neighbor William (Perry King), a good-looking, successful businessman, her heart immediately goes a-flutter and her mind goes a-bye-bye.

She's found her next object of desire, and nothing will stand in her way of getting jiggy with it -- not her aunt, not William's wife Jeannie (Susan Blakely), and definitely not her moral compass. Her obsession rises to a fevered pitch, and she enacts plans to rub out all obstacles to her lust. William's hot, young secretary? Gone! The too-curious aunt? Watch your back sweetheart. Jeannie? Oh, you don't want none of that.

All this horny mayhem rockets toward a violent climax when William, Jeannie, and Donna face their issues; and gunplay ensues.

The Evidence

I'll take a nice solid rabbit punch to the throat over enduring this movie again. There are worse ways to spend 93 minutes, though sitting through this derivative, predictable Lifetime movie-of-the-week wannabe ranks at about the "out-patient surgery" level. There is absolutely nothing at work in this film you haven't seen before. Or heard of before. Does the plotline of a whacked-out woman with an unhealthy obsession sound familiar to anyone?

Before I harp any more on this film, I have to give props to Barbara Niven. She's like 50, but wow is she smoking. Maybe it's the masochistic draw to psycho chicks that afflicts most guys, but I think Niven's righteous eye candy. She's in killer shape, knows how to squint her eyes just right to convey lunacy, and truly embodies the femme fatale character. She steals this film. Too bad it's such a lightweight haul.

You see, there really isn't any kind of suspense lurking in the proceedings. Thanks to a flashback right at the start of the movie, we know Donna's cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs; we see her talking to her previous lover, also a married guy, who tells her he's going back to his wife and ends up with a big-ass knife in his gut. So as soon as Donna lands at her aunt's and lays eyes on her new dude, the only mystery that remains is a) how batty will she get and b) who's going to die. That last part isn't too hard to figure out thanks to the unsubtle camera-work -- lingering shots on someone close to William, and then cut to Donna sneering.

The only molecules of enjoyment to be found here is in Donna's downward spiral, and the violence that results. It is of course a miracle that no one can put this not-so-difficult a case together in this town. How the cops never tied the new woman with a questionable past who was known to be with all of the victims to the murders is never touched on. But that's fine, because if the detectives were at all competent and arrested Donna, we wouldn't get the big confrontation at the end that we all saw coming 10 minutes into this thing. On the other hand, we might have lucked out with some sweet women-in-prison footage with the lovely Ms. Niven. All right, I'm done.

Another Lionsgate bare bones release with a ho-hum 1.33:1 transfer. A 5.1 mix delivers the sound, but it's not active, nor should it be. Trailers are it for extras.

Closing Statement

This made-for-TV movie is a hack attack, pieced together with spare parts from a million other "fatal attraction" movies (including Fatal Attraction) and starring a bunch of hot moms. No thanks.

The Verdict

The planning board finds this Neighbor guilty of public disturbance and relocates it to the Mohave.

Review content copyright © 2006 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 80
Audio: 80
Extras: 50
Acting: 75
Story: 55
Judgment: 62

Perp Profile
Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)

Subtitles:
* English
* Spanish

Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Trailers

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0430457/combined