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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Review: 'The Wrong Neighbor'

What happens when you pay for a beautiful woman's lunch at a food truck? In "The Wrong Neighbor," a free lunch turns into a stalking-fest complete with beatdowns, gunplay, illicit photos and spy-cams.

Super chef Tim (Steve Richard Harris) is a nice enough guy. When he helps out Jamie (Ashlynn Yennie) at a food truck, she's seeing stars ... and possibly green clovers, pink harts and yellow moons. You see, she's not a lucky charm, and Tim made the mistake of being a good looking guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. Oh, he also happens to move next to her when he and his wife Heather (Andrea Bogart) are going through a trial separation.

So, Tim is kind of on the market ... but not really since he and Heather are in counseling -- which seems about as fun as getting a root canal.

The biggest victim in the divorce? Tim and Heather's daughter Lisa (Christine Prosperi). Lisa is perfect teen queen and star of the swim team. But she has some boy troubles and a tough (yet kind) coach (Michael Madsen, who's in this movie for a millisecond).

Back at Tim's man-pad, he befriends Jamie, which becomes the worst thing he can possibly do. They flirt, drink and almost have sex. And she begins to stalk the living heck out of him. She also becomes friends with Lisa -- introducing her to the world of guns and beer!

Well, it doesn't take long for folks to realize all is not right in Jamie's twisted head. She proceeds to make everyone's life a living hell, including Tim's boss Nate (Dominic Leeder).

Honestly, there's not a lot of thought to put into this movie. It's a classic tale of obsession with very little background on why Jamie is a clingy basket case. She's pretty much full-throttle in love with Tim from the minute they meet and really wants to replace Heather. You'll find the usual cliches in this one, including a family photo with Jamie's photo inserted for Heather's.

Yennie is definitely the perfect villain with menacing stares (often times behind binoculars) and going berserk at all the right moments. The role is a feast for any talented actor, and she effortlessly portrays a psycho in love. Of course, she is well versed in insanity. She starred in perhaps two of craziest movies ever, "The Human Centipede (First Sequence)" and "The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)."

The rest of the cast delivers the goods, particularly Prosperi as the impressionable teen. And Madsen? Well, any movie with him is worth watching. I was hoping he'd have a bigger part, but just seeing Mr. Blonde in aviator shades yelling through a megaphone for a few seconds worked for me.

And this movie is expertly helmed by Sam Irvin, who handled the equally awesome "The Wrong House." As in that movie, Irvin balances action and tension while showing how one crazy lady can disintegrate the perfect family.

Definitely check out "The Wrong Neighbor" and think twice before signing your next lease! You never know if another Jamie is out there waiting to wreak havoc on your life.

"The Wrong Neighbor": Directed by Sam Irvin; Starring Steve Richard Harris as Tim, Ashlynn Yennie as Jamie, Christine Prosperi as Lisa, Andrea Bogart as Heather, Dominic Leeder as Nate, Michael Madsen as Coach Jaworski

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Review: 'Girlfriend Killer'

Not saying "I do" can easily mean "You die!" The characters in "Girlfriend Killer" discover this morbid fact firsthand!

Yes, it's another Lifetime "Killer" movie courtesy of Barbie Castro and friends. This thriller - with a very original premise - debuted last week and lived up to its awesome title.

Lifetime veteran Castro stars as Carmen, an entrepreneur running a very unique business. She creates special proposals for soon-to-be-engaged couples. Basically, she sets up a dream proposal, then films the magic moment. But ... what happens when someone pops the question and gets a "No" for an answer?

Carmen soon learns that even the most romantic setting can be transformed into a haven for humiliation. When she helps Emerson Banes (Jason Cook) create a Christmas-themed proposal for his girlfriend Marissa (Elisabetta Fantone), it goes badly. Instead of giggling wildly when she receives a ring, Marissa tells him she has a lover on the side.

Carmen rushes to the rescue and comforts Emerson by telling him she'll waive the charges and that he's really a special guy. Like any confused, needy male, he instantly falls for her! Never mind that he was just recently dumped. He's now in love with Carmen!

Well, Carmen's kinda busy, so she fails to notice his crush. She's head over heels in love with production partner and boyfriend Ryan (Brian Gross) and has a testy teen daughter Ayla (real-life daughter Taylor Castro) to contend with.

Ryan is considerably more observant about Emerson's weird behavior, including phone calls and flower deliveries. And when Carmen and Ryan's home is burglarized -- with videos and photos stolen -- they contact super cops Detectives Price (Dina Meyer) and Baker (Corin Nemec). They're on the case, but Emerson is off his rocker. The highlights of his days include staring at a "stalker wall" filled with cut-out pictures of Carmen.

His obsessions intensify, and Carmen ultimately fears for her and her family's life.

This is another solid entry into Castro's "Killer" series ("Boyfriend Killer," "Patient Killer," "Assumed Killer). Castro and Gross share a solid romantic chemistry as the couple terrorized by a stalker, and Cook is perfectly creepy as the obsessed rich guy. Throw in veterans like Meyer and Nemec, and you have a fast-paced, fun Lifetime film. And the younger Castro offers a feisty performance as a typical teen who might be Emerson's next casualty.

"Girlfriend Killer" also reunites Castro with the terrific tandem of director Alyn Darnay and writer Christine Conradt, so it's safe to say that Lifetimers will be more than satisfied. 

Check it out again at 7 p.m. (CST), June 9 on LMN. 

"Girlfriend Killer": Directed by Alyn Darnay; Starring Barbie Castro as Carmen, Brian Gross as Ryan; Jason Cook as Emerson, Dina Meyer as Det. Price, Corin Nemec as Det. Baker, Taylor Castro as Ayla, Khotan Fernandez as Nick, Elisabetta Fantone as Marissa