Destroy All Neighbors 2024 movie

Director Josh Forbes’ “Destroy All Neighbors” is brimming with chaotic energy, featuring a whirlwind of plasticine special effects, disjointed storytelling, and uninhibited electric guitar riffs. Whether this concoction serves as a warning or an invitation largely depends on your personal taste in horror.

Shudder’s inaugural original offering for the year unfolds as a splatterhouse oddity, placing a significant emphasis on practical effects crafted by esteemed artist Gabe Bartalos (known for works like Basket Case 2, Basket Case 3: The Progeny, and Brain Damage). The show doesn’t shy away from prioritizing gore over its thinly scripted storylines, making it seem more suitable for Shudder’s revamped Creepshow series. A trimmer runtime might have benefited this effects-driven romp, as it becomes evident that the cinematic vocabulary is limited to messy gore gags, overshadowing elements like tonality and performances.

In the narrative, Jonah Ray Rodrigues takes on the role of William Brown, a struggling Los Angeles prog-rocker living in a rundown apartment complex while pursuing his dreams. Rodrigues infuses all his anxious energy into a stereotypical character dealing with every tenant’s nightmare: a noisy neighbor. Enter Alex Winter, playing Vlad, a wrinkly, tattooed party animal with a penchant for blasting EDM tracks at ear-splitting volumes, causing William’s walls to shake. Despite Vlad’s absurdity, he effectively embodies an imposing psychopath, setting the stage for the central conflict: Can William stand up to his cacophonous neighbor and persuade him to tone it down?

The answer is affirmative, and that’s when the purported fun begins. Rodrigues’ wimpy loser clashes with Winter’s cartoonishly brash machismo in a sequence involving a greasy chicken bone and concrete barbell weights, leaning into situational absurdity. As William embarks on his bloodthirsty quest for progressive rock ‘n’ roll perfection, he discovers that his victims aren’t truly dead but continue to exist as spirits, adding a twist reminiscent of Dexter. Bartalos’ craftsmanship in reanimating their corpses, although not remarkably realistic, adds a hopeful charm to the show.

However, the descent into madness becomes messy in the wrong ways. Storytelling lacks clarity, and the relationship drama between William and his partner Emily falls flat. While the concept of undead spirits lingering adds entertaining elements, the execution falters due to Rodrigues’ overplayed performance and a cast of half-baked caricatures. “Destroy All Neighbors” attempts to be a zany after-dark treat but ends up feeling forced, with disjointed “WTF” choices that struggle to coalesce into a coherent narrative.

Despite appearances by Thomas Lennon, Kumail Nanjiani, and Jon Daly, the lack of substantial scripting prevents these appearances from stealing scenes. The comedy, although occasionally amusing, struggles to find a harmonious balance with horror. The third act fizzles out, culminating in a lackluster finale that fails to live up to its potential.

In essence, “Destroy All Neighbors” is excessively schlocky yet unsubstantial, offering grotesque visuals without a balanced narrative. The horror-comedy fails to deliver on its conceptual promise, with Forbes’ direction lacking fluidity and the humor often falling flat. While it exudes loudness and aggression, it falls short of creating an engaging and entertaining experience, akin to a jam session that never finds its hook.

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By acinetv