The Boy Next Door (2015)

Movie Title: The Boy Next Door

Year Released: 2015

Rated: R

Runtime: 1h 31min

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Director: Rob Cohen

Writer: Barbara Curry

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, John Corbett, Ian Nelson, Kristin Chenoweth, Lexi Atkins, Hill Harper, Travis Schuldt, Brian Mahoney, Adam Hicks, François Chau, Bailey Chase

Review: When a handsome, charming teenager named Noah (Ryan Guzman) moves in next door, newly separated high-school teacher Claire Peterson (Jennifer Lopez) encourages his friendship and engages in a little bit of harmless -- or so she thinks -- flirtation. Although Noah spends much of the time hanging out with Claire's son (Ian Nelson), the teen's attraction to her is palpable. One night, Claire gives in to temptation and lets Noah seduce her -- but when she tries to end the relationship, he turns violent.

I watched this movie on a bus trip with limited viewing options and boy oh boy I wish I hadn't. This movie stinks out loud. I was flabbergasted that somebody actually thought this was a good idea. There are movies that are so bad that they're good, but this is just bad.

The Boy Next Door is a psycho thriller starring Jennifer Lopez, who bless her heart, did a relatively good job trying to save this movie. Ultimately, Jenny should have stayed on the block and sat this one out because despite her solid acting chops and a few steamy scenes, this movie was otherwise a mess. Think of this movie like a gender-inverted Fatal Attraction made for Lifetime. Chock full of bad acting, a silly plot, and an unconvincing villain, this movie is a nightmare. The "boy" next door who seduces J. Lo is a 19-year old who somehow weasels his way into the high school where Lopez's character Claire works. It comes off as incredibly weird as this "kid" who looks like a grown man is making her life at the school a living hell, threatening to expose their secret if she doesn't comply with his sexual demands. This situation is creepy as you-know-what, but not in the way that is welcomed from your typical horror movie. Not only that, but the plot is entirely predictable. Boy likes girl. Boy becomes obsessed with girl. Girl realizes sleeping with the boy is bad. Boy becomes a rage monster and tries to kill girl. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall in this writing room, folks!

The Boy Next Door reads more like bad erotic fan-fiction than a horror movie. Wait, is there such thing as good erotic fan-fiction? I digress. The point is, this movie is not scary, not well-written, and not the slightest bit entertaining. Noah, the boy next door, is played by Ryan Guzman. It's almost as if the casting director told him, "Hey man, we don't care if you can act, we just want people to believe you're capable of seducing Jennifer Lopez." Which if I suppose was the goal, then they succeeded at one thing.

The film does go out with a bang with a series of over-the-top gory scenes, but the train is well off the track by then. I wish the boy next door had moved to Siberia instead of next to J. Lo so I wouldn't have had to stumble across this mess. I implore you to stay away, unless you really like Jennifer Lopez or really like wasting your time watching atrocious films.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: The film was shot in just 25 days on a budget of around $4 million.


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