ⓘ The Boy Next Door (film)


ⓘ The Boy Next Door (film)

The Boy Next Door is a 2015 American erotic psychological horror thriller film directed by Rob Cohen and written by Barbara Curry. The film stars Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, and Ian Nelson, with John Corbett and Kristin Chenoweth playing supporting roles. Lopez plays a high school teacher named Claire who, in the midst of being separated from her husband, has a one-night stand with a younger neighbor, who develops a dangerous obsession with her.

Barbara Curry, a former criminal lawyer, wrote the screenplay for the film inspired from her lifes experiences. Blumhouse Productions financed and produced the film, which was filmed for 23 days in Los Angeles and other locations in California at the end of 2013.

The film was released in the United States on January 23, 2015, by Universal Pictures. The Boy Next Door received generally negative reviews from film critics, who felt that it promised "campy thrills" but did not deliver and grossed $53.4 million against a $4 million budget. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on April 28, 2015.


1. Plot

Claire Peterson separates from her husband Garrett, after he was caught cheating with his secretary. Her colleague and best friend Vicky Lansing urges Claire to divorce. 19-year-old Noah Sandborn moves in next door to help his uncle, who uses a wheelchair. They learn that Noah is now an orphan following a fatal car accident in his family the previous year. Noah befriends Kevin, Claires teenage son, and begins attending his school, where Claire teaches English literature. Noah is drawn to Claire, expressing love for Homers Iliad. With Kevin and Garrett away on a fishing trip, Noah catches Claire watching him change clothes through her window.

Claire goes on a miserable double date with Vicky and her boyfriend Ethan, and his ill-mannered friend Benny. With Kevin still away, Noah calls Claire over to help him cook. She ends up having dinner with him, during which he unashamedly flirts with her. Despite Claires hesitation, she lets Noah seduce her and has passionate sex with Noah. Claire tells Noah that she regrets their night together, causing him to punch a wall in rage. The school year begins, with Noah joining Claires class after hacking into her computer, making it appear as if she had requested this. Noah manipulates Kevin into hating his father, causing him to lash out at Garrett. Later, Kevin overexerts himself at gym class and goes into shock; Noah saves his life by injecting him with Kevins EpiPen. Claire receives flowers from Noah, and she confronts him about it. Noah witnesses Claire and Garrett together at home after going on a date, escalating his obsession with her.

After an incident where Noah - in defense of Kevin - slams a bullys head into a locker repeatedly, Vicky, who is vice principal at the school, discovers that Noah was kicked out of his previous school for disorderly conduct. After Noah insults her, she expels him. During the fall fling, Claire goes to investigate a leak in the boys bathroom, where she sees the words "I fucked Claire Peterson" written on the wall before Noah emerges. He attempts to rape her, but she fends him off and demands that he stay away from her and Kevin. The following day, Noah leaves a printer running in Claires classroom, with pictures of them sleeping together scattered everywhere. Later, when Garretts car brakes fail to work, he and Kevin are nearly involved in an accident. That evening, Claire finds Noah with Garrett and Kevin in her drawing room. Noah blackmails Claire, telling her that he has a video of them having sex, which he will relinquish to her if she continues sleeping with him. She refuses, and has Vicky lure Noah away from his house so she can break in and delete their sex tape. While there, she finds pictures of herself all over the walls and on his laptop; she also finds instructions on how to tamper with the brakes of Garretts car and Noahs parents car. With the help of a detective, she learns the truth about the car accident in Noah’s family.

Noah binds and gags Vicky with duct tape and uses a recording of her voice to lure Claire to her house. When Claire arrives, she discovers Vicky dead. A horrified Claire contacts the police, but runs into Noah again. She accuses him of killing his parents, and he clarifies that his mother killed herself after his father cheated on her and he retaliated by cutting the brakes of his fathers car, killing him and his mistress. Noah takes Claire to a barn house where he has tied up Garrett and Kevin, threatening to kill them unless Claire stays with him. Noah pours kerosene around the barn, causing it to ignite in flames. Garrett frees himself and attempts to choke Noah with a rope, prompting Noah to shoot him in the chest. Claire stabs Noahs eye with Kevins EpiPen. Noah removes the EpiPen from his eye and blindly attempts to strangle Claire to death. When he is about to kill Kevin, she pulls a lever that drops an engine on him and kills him. Claire and Kevin then help a wounded Garrett exit the burning barn house as police and paramedics arrive.


2. Cast

  • Ian Nelson as Kevin Peterson
  • Hill Harper as Principal Edward Warren
  • Jennifer Lopez as Claire Peterson
  • John Corbett as Garrett Peterson
  • Lexi Atkins as Allie Callahan
  • François Chau as Detective Johnny Chou
  • Brian Mahoney as Cooper
  • Travis Schuldt as Ethan
  • Bailey Chase as Benny
  • Adam Hicks as Jason Zimmer
  • Ryan Guzman as Noah Sandborn
  • Kristin Chenoweth as Vicky Lansing

3.1. Production Conception and writing

Screenwriter Barbara Curry, who was a criminal lawyer for ten years, revealed that she developed the scripts concept after running past a house which she described as her "dream house". A "bad boy" her son went to school with resided in the house across the street, which gave her a "really interesting" concept about a neighborhood boy creating conflict and "driving a wedge between a family". This served as her inspiration for the screenplay.

Curry stated that the "first few drafts of dont have to be close-minded, where two Latinos have to be speaking Spanish or they have to have some Latin reference in the movie. Thats what I love about this film. Were breaking down the walls and stereotypes."


3.2. Production Filming

On his approach, Cohen said that he refused to consider making the film PG-13: "The first thing I said was, If you want me, Im making an R-rated movie. I dont want to deal with sex and make it, like, for 13-year-olds. The film took 23 days to shoot. Discussing its micro-budget, Lopez stated: "You know what, we put all four million dollars in front of the camera! We all shared one trailer, we had no craft service, it wasnt that type of luxury movie set, lets say." She also found that the limited budget and filming period was "super intense", saying: "I never had done a film like that in my career. That was the first time we did that, but it was very liberating as an artist because it made me realize I can make whatever movie I want like this." On filming sex scenes, Guzman said "that was the time in the film when I was the most uncomfortable. We had to choreograph every piece. It was the most unsexy-really-sexy scene that youll see on screen." Filming took place throughout fall 2013 in Los Angeles. In December 2013, the film received permit to shoot in Placerita Canyon, Newhall. Some of the remaining scenes were also filmed in April 2014.


4. Marketing

The theatrical trailer for The Boy Next Door was released on September 8, 2014. The teaser poster, unveiled in October 2014, features Lopez standing in a window wearing a "tight low-cut lacy cami".

The films main demographic is women and Latinos. Lopez made her largest Hispanic press tour to date in Miami in promotion of The Boy Next Door. She hoped that the film would appeal to Hispanic markets, due to featuring two Hispanic leads, which she stated might not have been possible if a big studio had produced it. She visited ¡Despierta America! and Nuestra Belleza Latina, shows which air on the Latin American network Univision, the latter of which saw 22% ratings gain with Lopezs appearance. According to Variety, the film received 105.000 posts on Twitter by the day of its release.

Measuring the films pros and cons, Boxoffice magazine said that the films social media activity online and Lopezs pull with Latino audiences would help it. However, the publication said that Lopezs box office drawing power had been dwindling, which worked against the film.


5. Release

The film was released on January 23, 2015. It runs for approximately 90 minutes and was given an R rating from the MPAA for "violence, sexual content/nudity, and language". A BBFC classification, dated February 9, 2015, gives the film a 15 certificate for "strong violence, threat, very strong language". The films UK distributors, also Universal Studios, chose to remove two seconds of material, the eye gouging scene, in order to obtain a 15. There is an 18-rated version available.


5.1. Release Box office

Opening across 2.602 North American theaters, The Boy Next Door was projected to pull in $12–15 million over its opening weekend. The film earned $5.7 million on its opening day, well over its budget. It opened at number two at the US box office, with an opening weekend gross of $14.9 million, significantly higher than the other new releases for that week. The Hollywood Reporter revealed that 45 percent of the films opening week audience was Hispanic, while 71 percent of the overall audience was female. The film became Lopezs best opening weekend for a January release, beating her romantic comedy The Wedding Planner 2001 which opened with $13.5 million. It was also her best opening weekend for a thriller film, ahead of Angel Eyes 2001, $9.2 million, Enough 2002, $14 million, and Parker 2013, $7 million. Furthermore, it is Lopezs biggest live-action opening since 2005s Monster-in-Law. The Boy Next Door ended its domestic box office run with a total of $36.6 million, and has earned another $17.3 million in foreign markets, making a total of $53 million.


5.2. Release Home media

The Boy Next Door was released on Blu-ray and DVD on April 28, 2015. It has earned $7.2 million from domestic home video sales.


6.1. Reception Critical response

The Boy Next Door received generally negative reviews from film critics, who felt that it promised "campy thrills" but did not deliver. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 11%, based on 133 reviews, with a rating average of 3.3/10. The sites consensus reads: The Boy Next Door may get a few howls out of fans of stalker thrillers, but for most viewers, it wont even rise to so bad its good status." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 30 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". According to CinemaScore, audiences gave the film a grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale.

Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, Thomas Lee wrote: "Why Lopez decided to do this inept, cliche-infested film is anyones guess". Peter Keough of The Boston Globe wrote that may end up as one of the worst movies of 2015, but it is also one of the most entertaining". The Guardian writer Jordan Hoffman gave the film two stars, writing that "it is bad, but it isnt THAT bad", and said: "for a would-be cult classic, this could have been much more". Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times was critical of The Boy Next Door, calling it "breathless, uninspired. junk that feels like the iffiest bits of a Lifetime movie and late-night cable schlock slapped together", calling Guzmans character boring. Entertainment Weekly s Leah Greenblatt similarly wrote that the film was a "few deliciously bonkers bons mots dot the Lifetime-grade dialogue", while calling its script "too timid to fully dive into the high camp it hints at". Despite negative reviews, Lopez has received praise. Richard Lawson from Vanity Fair wrote: "Given the material, Lopez is actually pretty darn good in the movie, taking it seriously enough that its not irksomely arch camp, but also plenty aware that shes not doing Shakespeare. Shes a joy to watch throughout." Claudia Puig from USA Today stated that the movie was an improvement on her previous romantic comedies, calling Lopez "believably powerful in moments of physical conflict". Although he called the film "clunky and ridiculous", Daniel DAddario from Time but said it is "a rare movie about women" and "the Bad Movie Hollywood Needs Right Now". DAddario added that the film feels "perversely refreshing" for its focus on womens issues.

Several publications particularly criticized the scene where Noah gives Claire a printed book that is supposed to be a first edition copy of the Iliad, a work written nearly 3.000 years ago in Greece. Amy Heidt, writing for Slate, noted that while a first English edition could have been a possible explanation, such works were from the 16th and 17th centuries, and describes the book Noah gives Claire as "A pristine hardcover that looks like those Jane Austen Penguin Classics they sell at Urban Outfitters." Following the films release, the term "The Iliad, first edition" became the top search term on the online book marketplace AbeBooks. Richard Davis, a spokesman for the website, said: "It appears people who have watched the film are trying to identify the actual edition handed to Lopez, which has dark yellow and blue boards. I cannot match the book seen in the movie to anything currently for sale on AbeBooks."


6.2. Reception Awards and nominations

The film earned Lopez an MTV Movie Award nomination and win for Best Scared-As-Shit Performance at the 2015 MTV Movie Awards. Lopez later received two more accolades for her work as an actress and as a producer in film at the Premios Juventud, broadcast by Univision. Lopez earned a Peoples Choice Award nomination for Favorite Dramatic Movie Actress, the movie was nominated for Favorite Thriller Movie. The movie received one Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Lopez in the Worst Actress category.