Blu-ray Review: Neighbors (1981)

March 21, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

At the end of a cul de sac sits two homes; one a picture of middle class normalcy the other a dilapidated, empty Victorian affair that Gomez Addams would dig. Well, that diabolical dwelling doesn’t stay empty for long as Vic and Ramona (Dan Aykroyd and Cathy Moriarty respectively) move in and immediately begin intruding on the lives of their neighbors the hen-pecked, milquetoast Earl and put-upon Enid Keese (John Belushi and Kathryn Walker)…with Ramona turning on the seduction and Vic fleecing Earl.

Of course shit gets waaaay out of hand (and right quick too)…and soon blackmail, questionable Italian dinners, Nazi connotations, and outrageous rivalries are the order of the day…and that’s not even to mention the swamp full of chemical waste and quicksand, or the ultra-strange (and close) electrical tower that seems to electrocute animals as it sees fit.

Neighbors is one hell of an underrated surreal gem…seriously, why this flick mentioned in the same breath as The Burbs or Edward Scissorhands is beyond me, because Director John G. Avildsen along with screenwriter Larry Gelbart (adapting the novel by Thomas Berger) certainly delivered! This is suburbia at it’s absolute pitch black darkness…everything from wife swapping, to hidden family secrets, to suburban ennui, to outre neighborhood occurrences and urban legends are well and truly skewered…all by actors that are incredibly up to the task, with Belushi and Aykroyd notably switching up the paradigm and changing their usual roles as wild man and more sedate foil with Belushi’s nebbish Earl the perpetual victim of Aykroyd’s Vic and his insane machinations.

Also of note are the supporting performances, with Police Academy‘s Tim Kazurinsky as an insane garage mechanic that at times make the off-the-rails Vic seem sedate, and Moriarty as the over-sexed seductress Ramona…in a flick filled with characters as intentionally subtle as a jackhammer to the nuts, these two really rise to the top!

On the flip side of the equation, Neighbors will doubtless be quite the shock to those familiar with the more ridiculous comedic vehicles starring Belushi and Aykroyd as this one skews towards the more dark and surreal…wait, Aykroyd was in mother fuckin’ Nothing But Trouble, so maybe not…

If you dig on stories of the normal life gone bad…real bad…then Neighbors is a flick you must lay your putrid peepers on (and I’m willing to bet a great number of you reading these wicked words have never seen this one)…it’s a dark, hilarious ride sure to satisfy!







Share This Article

You May Also Like…