Next Door (2010) - Part of Terrorthon 10 at the Somerville Theater in Somerville MA.
Anna(Christina Rondano) is a depressed accountant living and working in NYC. She is down in the dumps not wanting to socialize with her friend Evelyn (Nicole Kruex) and is looking for a change. When in an email she mysteriously wins a house in Massachusetts thing seem to be looking up. She checks out the organization and it seems legitimate so she plans a weekend up at the house to check it out.
We saw from the opening scene that the towns' people in this town has decided they need to have people living in the house for some hidden reason. We get the idea that the house may be haunted or at least some grisly events took place there.
Anna arrives and find handyman Ronald Buckman (Sal Lizard) ready to help her settle in and welcome her. Local snoop Mrs. Rosenburg (Lynn Lowry) stops in with a casserole and pries a bit before being nudged to the door. It does not take long for director Andrew Sawyer to telegraph trouble with an animated conversation among town folk outside the house while upping the creepy music, was that a take off on "The Exorcist" theme?
Unfortunately things slow down from here and sitting through the slow build was a tough watch. It was not that the acting was bad but I wonder about the script. Writer Allison Lahikainen seemed to sacrifice coherence because she feared exposition. Granted it is tough to do when there is basically one protagonist. Anna spent a lot of time being scared from scrapes and bumps in the night and then discovering pictures. There is some building for her as she sets out to find out why the house is so strange but because she has no one to bounce ideas off there is never a clear narrative about why things are happening.
The information we do get comes from the towns people and even there it is their resistence to share information that is frustrating. When Anna starts having a crazy look we know somehow the house is affecting her, through some flashes for the audience we know some grisly thing happened and we see Anna slowly losing it. Thing is we can only guess why. This reviewer was going the evil house route. She invites Evelyn up and there is finally hope to discover a plot. Unfortunately the Things get even stranger as we get to experience Anna's insanity in cut shots of things that could or could not be happening. The final night does not go well for her and even worse for Evelyn and Mrs. Rosenburg.
It seems bad and I am afraid it was but not to worry in the morning Ronald is there explain the entire movie. Well sort of and not very satisfactorily. I won't tell you because damn it if you want to know you should have to suffer through this film yourself.
When thinking about the film what was missing was a clear plot, the idea for one was there but it was poorly relayed through the script. Since it was the townspeople luring people to their deaths the supporting cast could have been written much more menacing than it was. The actors were all competent and would have been able to pull it off. Filmed on what seemed video and truly a low budget picture you really have to give credit for the execution of getting the film made. Because of time, it was really late, I could not stay for the Q & A but really wished that I had.
Rating (3.1) 5.0 and up are recommended, On the Zombiegrrlz scale I would skip it!