Most of us watch thrillers for entertainment. Of course, we would not think that the terrifying things we see in the film, such as stalking, chasing or murder would happen to someone we know in real life. What I have recently noticed is that most people watch these kinds of movies with great pleasure, which definitely I cannot consider a good thing at all. Anyway, I am not going to talk about the audience’s attitude in my review; instead, I’ll share with you my thoughts about the recently released “The Boy Next Door” by Rob Cohen.
A newly divorced woman falls for a younger man who has recently moved in across the street. What starts in the beginning as a benign relationship, turns out to be a dangerous game, where Claire (Jennifer Lopez) realizes that there is no way out of this affair. She did not expect to be stalked and become an obsession for a younger man – Noah (Ryan Guzman), who wants to ends this game on his own terms. And, that end, certainly won’t bring happiness to any of them…
The Boy Next Door next door begins with Claire, who still can’t forgive and recover from her husband’s betrayal. She lives with her teenage son Kevin (Ian Nelson), who seems to be a very nice and polite boy. But all that soon changes, as Kevin is influenced by Noah, who is obsessed with his mother. Meanwhile, Claire’s friend and colleague Vicky Lansing (Kristin Chenoweth) convinces Claire to go on a date with her friend, which later turns out to be a bad idea. Becoming frustrated Claire leaves the restaurant and heads home. Noah invites Claire to help him cook a dinner and during their conversation, Claire, either because of too much alcohol or in a moment of weakness, allows the young man to cross the line. This is where his obsession begins – he finds it hard to control.
The Boy Next Door has an interesting, though still predictable plot. Despite that, the film is surprisingly watchable. If you have seen films like “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” (1992) with Rebecca De Moray, and “Fatal Attraction” (1987) with Michael Douglas and Glen Close, then you know exactly what to expect from Rob Cohen’s thriller. Even though some viewers would find the plot of the film too generic and obvious, it still manages to surprise us in certain scenes. Jennifer Lopez carries the entire film; I would leave it to the viewer to decide for themselves whether this is a good or bad thing.
That being said, “The Boy Next Door” is indeed more likely to be discussed because of its lead actress Lopez than the disturbing subject matter of the film. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine Jennifer Lopez as a victim or the object of an obsessed stalker. This becomes especially true if you see Jennifer Lopez as a musician and entertainer throughout the film. While, if the audience allows themselves to forget about how attractive Jennifer Lopez looks, they’ll be able to judge the film more objectively. As to Ryan Guzman (widely known for his lead role in “Step Up Revolution”), he does an impressive job as the psychotic villain and stalker. His character will have you respect him in the beginning and hate him through the end of the film.
In conclusion, “The Boy Next Door” is not perfect but still a watchable film with solid performance from its leads. It looks fresh and entertaining. It is a mixture of films made in the late 80s and the beginning of the 90s. It’s not groundbreaking, but it is a very well done film considering the subject, that is surely not humorous. Those who have seen crime documentaries will certainly appreciate the hard work of the entire cast, showing that being a victim of an obsessed person is not a fun thing, especially, when the one who stalks you threatens you with death. This is why I strongly recommend to watch “The Boy Next Door” from the ‘story’ perspective, instead of judging its leading star for being too good to be true.