“That's either the creepiest... Or the sweetest thing I've ever heard.”
Opening Scene: Kale and his dad are fishing together showing what a great father-son relationship they have. On the drive home they get into a car accident. His dad dies. Kale was driving.
One Year Later: Kale is checked out at school. Luckily, it’s almost summer break, but not soon enough because Kale punches out his Spanish teacher for confronting him in class and mentioning his dead father.
His punishment: Three months of house arrest. That’s the whole summer! Thank God for online gaming. Oh wait, mom cancelled his Xbox account. Then she cuts the cord to his tv. One thing I’ve never understood after you’ve already been punished by your school or the law: Your parents still feel the need to stack some extra punishment on top of it. So his dad is dead and he and his mom are now turning against each other.
Hold the phone, hot girl moving in next door! And a flaming bag of shit on his doorstep. He chases the kids that did it, with smoking shit still on his shoe, and triggers his ankle bracelet. It doesn’t help that one of the cops surveying him is the cousin of Mr. Gutierrez, the teacher he punched. What a way to make an impression on the new neighbors.
From his dead dad’s study, Kale has a nice view of the new girl’s backyard and her bedroom window. One thing I failed to mention in the Summer of 84 review is that both of these guys started out as peeping toms.
His friend Ronald stops by and based on Kale’s enthusiasm, I’d say it’s been awhile since he’s interacted with anyone besides his mom. Kale shows Ronald his new tv: The windows. Out the window he can watch his neighbors and all their shady shit and when he wants to change the channel, he just walks into another room. And the new girl has a pool.
While checking the mail, Kale awkwardly meets the new girl next door, Ashley. That night, through binoculars, he watches her do yoga. Her dad comes in and yells at her. It seems she knows he’s watching her and is somehow okay with it.
Later that night, one of his neighbors come home. There’s a dent in his fender. In the morning, the headline on the newspaper reads, “Missing Girl.” This escalates quickly as he puts two and two together, his neighbor is a murderer!
Now he and Ronald are on the case. They research the missing girl, then break to watch Ashley go for a swim. They think she caught them watching her and then the doorbell rings. It’s her. She says she’s locked out of her house and comes in. She finds the binoculars. In an act of subterfuge, they tell her they’re watching the neighbor, Robert Turner, because he is responsible for the missing girls. Ashley is on board and the stakeout begins.
During the stakeout, Kale and Ashley have a little heart to heart. She moved from the city to the burbs so her mom could keep a shorter leash on her dad. Apparently the city offers too much temptation and the best way to keep people faithful is to take away their options.
Robert is back. He has a woman with him. Kale and Ashley watch Robert through his living room window. The woman dances while Robert strokes a knife. He comes up behind her and cuts the price tag off of her dress. Ashley’s mom calls so Kale walks her home. He goes for a kiss and gets denied! But he may have a date for tomorrow. Ashley goes into her room and closes her blinds. Denied again.
Later that night, Kale hears screams coming from Robert’s. He’s juggling between binoculars and a handheld camera while trying to be discreet. If you were gonna kill somebody, wouldn’t you think to close the blinds first? After what looks like a struggle, that same woman gets into her car and leaves. Kale looks back at one of the windows and Robert is staring back at him and his binoculars. Busted!
In the morning, Kale wakes up and goes downstairs. He grabs a bagel and cuts it open with the biggest knife he can find. He grabs the cream cheese outta the fridge and when he shuts the door, Robert is standing in front of him. Kale panics, but it turns out, at the store, his mom had a flat tire and Robert just happened to be there. Did he pop her tire so she’d need his help?
Ashley comes over. Kale fills her in, but today she doesn’t seem interested. Her parents are out of town so she’s gonna have a party cuz she met some people. That’s the worst. When you’re not cool, but you meet the new girl first and then she meets the cool people. You’re beyond friend-zoned, you don’t even exist anymore. And to pour salt in the wound, it’s all happening right next door, 10-feet away from his ankle bracelet boundary. All he can do is watch through his binoculars.
Kale puts a speaker onto his rooftop pointed at her party and blasts Lovin’ You, by Minnie Riperton. She gets mad and storms into his house. You’d think if you thought your neighbor was a murderer you’d Fort Knox your house up a little bit. She finds out he was watching her, it turns out she didn’t know before. He confesses to watching her, but not in a pervy way. She loves pizza flavored chips and reading books on her rooftop while trying to figure out the world. Then she kisses him? A dude definitely wrote this script.
Meanwhile, blood splatters onto a window from the inside of ol’ Robert’s while they are not watching. The makeout session is interrupted by the sound of Robert dragging a large bag down the outside stairs into his garage. Is there any worse way to dispose of a body?
The next day they put Ronald on the case. Ashley follows Robert to the hardware store so Ronald can break into his car to get his garage door opener so they can take a peek inside. Robert is shovel shopping and apparently has more than one car. All the while, Ashley has Kale on the phone, but runs into a friend, literally, and drops her phone. She loses the call and Robert just as Ronald finally breaks into the car. Kale tells him to give him the code.
Robert finds Ashley in the parking lot. He gets into her car and calmly confronts her. He knows she’s been following him. He’s not mad, he doesn’t want to know why, but he likes his privacy and even implies that she has a crush on him. But the point is that he knows, and he tells her to spread the word, lightly implying that he knows that they’re watching him.
Back at the house, Ashley tells Ronald and Kale that maybe it’s time to drop it. She also points out that they are the ones acting weird and spying on people. This is that, “What are we doing?” epiphany that all My Neighbor’s a Murderer! movies have. It’s an attempt to pull the viewer out of the mindset the characters are in and second guess what is actually going on. It basically sets up the plot-twist option.
Kale keeps watching. Ronald comes back over in a panic. He dropped his phone in Robert’s car! Kale sends him over with the camera he jimmy-rigged. Ronald gets inside the garage. It stinks. Kale wants him to look around. There’s blood and hair. The garage shuts, trapping Ronald inside, and cutting off contact. Kale runs over with his baseball bat and ankle bracelet triggered.
The cops show up. Robert comes to the door. They handcuff Kale and he announces that Robert is kidnapping and killing women! The cops take a look inside. They find the big smelly blue bag. There’s a dead deer inside. He hit the deer with his car earlier that week, hence the dent in his fender.
Kale and his mom get into a fight and she goes over to Robert’s to try and smooth things over. Just then, Kale gets a text from Ronald’s phone telling him to look at his computer. On the screen is Ronald, he looks dead. He’s actually in Kale’s closet, just fucking with him. Kale is pissed! His mom goes inside Robert’s. Ronald plays his little garage escape video while he goes to the bathroom. In the background, Kale zooms in and notices what looks like a face through a plastic bag.
As Kale’s mom tries to leave after patching things up with Robert, he slams her head into the wall. He then goes over to Kale’s with the baseball bat and knocks out Ronald. Then goes after Kale. After a struggle, Kale makes a run for it. All he has to do is get off his property and the cops will come, but he’s too slow. Robert catches him and duct tapes him to a chair.
Now it’s time to frame Kale: The troubled boy in the neighborhood. He killed Ronald because Ronald was calling Ashley behind his back. Then he killed his mom for constantly blaming him for the death of his father, now it was time to write Ashley a note, but instead she shows up.
The two overpower Robert and lock themselves in Kale’s room. They get Kale outta the duct tape just as Robert breaks in. They jump out the window into her swimming pool. Kale breaks back into Robert’s house to save his mom. Officer Gutierrez shows up, but Robert takes him out.
Kale falls through the basement floor landing in water(?) and finds body after body. Finally, he finds his mom. How did Robert get her all the way down there then over to Kale’s so fast? Robert finds him and it’s time for the final showdown. As Robert is about to finish Kale, his mom stabs him in the back and Kale hedgeclips him then knocks him into the big hole?
The next day, Kale gets his ankle bracelet removed for good behavior. He’s free! He goes outside and is greeted by Ashley. They kiss, then he gets revenge on the dogshit burning neighbor kids. And Ronald is still alive! The End.
Afterthought: It’s not clear how long Robert lived next door. He’s making the news killing in Texas, yet at the same time he has his own large stash under his current house. Also, there’s a lot of unnecessary, somewhat elaborate setups that don’t go anywhere. The death of Kale’s dad was a little extreme just to setup house arrest a year later. Ashley’s dad yells at her, insinuating a problem at home, and then the idea is completely abandoned. What the film does capture better than anything else is the teenage fantasy of the hot girl next door. She’s new and she’s all your’s until school starts and she can meet cooler dudes.
The Badass Award goes to Kale, I guess, by default. If he hadn’t been on house arrest none of this probably would’ve happened, but he did catch a killer and saved his mom from the danger he put her in.
What did we learn? Survival Tips:
Well let’s face it, this was a PG-13 movie. Everyone died offscreen and none of the main characters were ever in any actual danger.