Michael A LoCicero
Michael A LoCicero
You gotta love those movies out there that start by giving you that sinking feeling - like everything is about to go very wrong in the storyline for its characters and then delivers on that to the nth degree. "The Killers Next Door" is one of those films you watch - where you know things are headed in a certain direction…and even though you might not know exactly how it'll end up, you instantaneously know that with every scene, the situation will become progressively worse and worse. This is a gritty backwoods film that shouldn't be passed on - if you get the opportunity to watch it. I felt like "The Killers Next Door" was a genuinely solid character-driven movie that was cast exceptionally well.
Some really effective scenes establish who these two dudes are, like what you'll see happen at a diner early on - before their trip even starts, their first meeting to reconnect, and the most intense moment you see early in as they try to purchase some items for lunch at a general store. Everything has that feeling of being right on the edge of unhinged, with the right degree of tension that makes it feel like something could easily go awry at any moment for little or no reason. It doesn't seem like it's going to take much to push Bobby over the edge, and even though Ryan is doing his level best to try and make some stable life out of what's clearly been a criminal past, he's not too far behind his brother when it comes to his creepiness. The whole level of unpredictability is precisely what makes a film like "The Killers Next Door" as scary as it is, and even from far away, we can tell that these two mild-mannered travelers they meet in Sean and Rosanna - are in for a ton of trouble to come soon enough.
From the creepy decorations we see on trees, the spotting of randomly placed trail cameras, the clutter and dust found in the cabins they're staying in out in the woods & the number of beers being consumed, "The Killers Next Door" feels dangerous at all times. At the very least, you get the sense that whatever is going to happen is way beyond what a nice guy like Sean or his well-meaning wife, Rosanna, will be able to handle. Bobby is clearly not right in the head and seems intent on making a new life right out in the middle of nowhere, whereas Ryan seems like the kind of guy that's still trying to hang on to the possibility of living a life on the straight and narrow path. For as crazy and over-sensitive as he seems, Bobby is whip-smart and more insightful than anyone would likely assume just by meeting him…and the more intense things get, the clearer it becomes that he thrives on danger. Both these guys (David S. Pridemore as Bobby and Michael A. LoCicero as Ryan) are right in the zone when it comes to playing their characters, who each display extremely different personalities - that seem more at odds naturally than they ever seem to be on the same page. It takes a major admission from Dave - before Rick finally starts to understand the gravity of how different the two of them are. It's a confession of sorts, where there is really no way back - from that that permanently separates the two of them…in theory.
That being said, people can get tied to each other for many reasons, and it's not always easy to sever those ties, as "The Killers Next Door" goes on to prove. There will be blood, and there are many, many more twists and turns in this movie, long beyond anything I've hinted at here before the end. All-in-all, I felt like Michael A. LoCicero, who not only plays Ryan in the movie but also wrote and directed it, did a stellar job with his attention to detail in writing, his choices of where to shoot & how to shoot it, and the tone of "The Killers Next Door" from start to finish. The most you'll find me conceding to you is that Mystery/Thriller fans would likely have seen a few similar ideas here and there throughout the history of film…but in all honesty, this was surprisingly well done. I racked my brain to think of what else could have been done to make it any better…I don't "really" think it even needed a much bigger budget than it had, given that it's largely a character-driven movie and the characters we get are superb. The music supplied by Alex Uriati was a great fit for the movie as well, and even Dani The Dog deserved a shout-out for her role – it really didn't feel like anything was overlooked in making "The Killers Next Door." It's got loads of great scenes, and beyond that, it's really a memorable experience to watch.
Ten years from now, I'm still going to remember I saw this movie, and credit to both the cast and its writer/director for giving "The Killers Next Door" its seriously unforgettable vibes. So, sure…while there might be the occasional part of the plot, or things the characters will do that could be similar to things we've seen in other movies in the past, a tale well-told is still exactly that, and that's what this film felt like to me. Therefore, I'm giving "The Killers Next Door" a strong four stars out of five – all its main stars were great, the tension was awesome, and I'm certainly sure that I'd watch it again one day. Bravo.