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Suburban Nightmare (2004)

DVD Cover (Shock-O-Rama Cinema)
Director:
Jon Keeyes Jon Keeyes
Starring:
Brandy Little Brandy Little
Trent Haaga Trent Haaga
Hayden Tweedie Hayden Tweedie
Kimberly Grant Kimberly Grant
Robert McCollum Robert McCollum

4.8 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Black Comedy, Horror, Horror Comedy, Slasher Film
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Review by Chad
Added: October 12, 2006
In the last review I wrote for this site (the woefully mediocre Hide and Seek), I opened things with a discussion about how the woman of the house and myself had a bit of a disagreement over the quality of the film as a whole. Our disagreements usually end with a friendly "oh well, think what you like" or something similar, but when the couple in tonight's film fail to see eye to eye, things turn out just a wee bit worse for both of the involved parties.

Deborah (Brandy Little) and Charles (Trent Haaga) are a loving couple living in what is most likely an upper class, low crime suburban neighborhood. They've been together for a couple of years now, and although they were madly in love with another at one point and even have a child (Hayden Tweedie) together, the romance is quickly fading from their relationship. However, what sets this apart from most failing relationships is the fact that this couple takes great delight in kidnapping, torturing, murdering, and even eating their neighbors. All of this comes to a head when they have a "misunderstanding" about their latest murders, and from there, things go from bad to much, much worse. You know, and I can speak from experience on this, having a woman pissed off at you and wanting to end a relationship is pretty brutal, but most women are content to yell at you and break some of your valuables. When a woman is pissed off at you and wants to end a relationship, and this woman happens to get "orgasmic" feelings after bashing people's brains in with baseball bats, well - I'd hate to be on the receiving end of that woman's scorn.

When I first heard about this movie, I expected something along the lines of a low-budget version of Natural Born Killers set in a suburban neighborhood. The similarities are pretty obvious, in my opinion, but this turned out to be a completely different beast. For starters, the action and violence are kept to a minimum, and when these events do take place, they almost always happen off screen or in the shadows. Those of you who are expecting ample amounts of bloodshed or gratuitous violence will likely be disappointed, but in my humble opinion, the film succeeds thanks to the storyline itself and the terrific chemistry between the two main characters. This is a character study, not a slasher film, and although I love some good ol' bloodshed when it comes to horror, that would have done nothing but cheapen this particular film.

Yes, this film focuses more on the characters and their interactions with one another rather than their actions, and as a result, there is a lot of dialogue to be found. In fact, I'd say that about eighty percent of the movie consists of this duo either engaging in friendly conversations or screaming at the top of their lungs at one another. This approach rarely works in films (especially low budget films, where the actors are usually less experienced), but thanks to the great performances turned in by Troma-veteran Trent Haaga and Brandy Little, the film far surpassed my expectations. Watching this couple interact never feels like you're watching a mere movie, but instead, it truly feels like you're in the room with a couple who just so happen to be at each other's throats.

If you don't need loads of mindless violence or plenty of the red stuff when it comes to horror, and if you happen to enjoy a moderate serving of black comedy thrown into the mix, then this one comes highly recommended by yours truly. I've always felt that these types of horror, the ones that involve real people in real situations, work out so much better than the slashers that promote violence over substance or films that have little in common with reality - not that there's anything wrong with those, mind you, but sometimes a change is appreciated. It's hard to make these films work while remaining both realistic and entertaining, but director Jon Keeyes has succeeded. 9/10.
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Tristan #1: Tristan - added 12/06/2008, 01:57 PM
Picked this up a year or so ago for somewhere in the area of $3. Well worth it. It was funny, brutal and quite entertaining.

8/10
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