Looks like it’s time for a thriller film. Lakeview Terrace may sound like the type of film where the main characters go to a nice looking hotel that is actually in a bad neighborhood, but that’s not exactly how it plays out. It’s a pretty distasteful film that can rival many horror films that I have seen and I can understand why the reception wasn’t very good for it. It’s one of those films that’s just frustrating to watch and it’s certainly not one that will have you smiling throughout.
Chris and Lisa move into a new house where they plan on staying for a while. They’re hoping that it works out, but they were not counting on their next door neighbor. Able is a police man, but he’s racist against couples with different ethnic backgrounds so he decides that he’ll intimidate and terrorize them until they go away. Chris definitely doesn’t want to back down to this bully so they begin to escalate their actions. The main problem for Chris is that Able has been living here for a long time and he has a lot of connections. Home Field Advantage is not something to be taken lightly!
I will admit that the film’s beginning was pretty clever since you initially think that Able could be the heroes. We’re not sure what’s going on with Chris and Lisa, but one of your first guesses could be that they’re bad apples since they keep making moves while the other figure isn’t looking. After he leaves, they still act like pretty unlikable characters for a while. Eventually, we figure out that it’s still Able’s problem, but the beginning does try to give you some doubts at first.
What makes this film unlikable is that it simply goes too far. Able keeps humiliating the heroes and intimidating them without the heroes firing back. One of the worst scenes in the film is easily when Chris goes to Able’s party to tell him to tone down the music. He’s essentially manhandled in that scene and he displays some incredibly weak strength of will there. Naturally, his actions there are quickly sent to Lisa for some more drama. It was a very unpleasant scene to watch and it just went way too overboard. Another cringe worthy scene is when Able goes to Chris’ house to fetch his daughter and totally threatens Lisa. Chris isn’t there to help so there’s nothing that she can really do and you have to hope that the main characters will bring in the cops. Chris probably would have ended things by now, but he wasn’t allowed to buy a gun for 10 days due to a grace period.
Abel is the main villain and he’s definitely very unlikable. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen an openly racist villain like him. He provokes the heroes a lot and takes many chances. He’s basically willing to risk the job that he’s had for decades just to get rid of the main characters. He’s a pretty sick individual so he probably doesn’t care or even think about the repercussions of his actions. It’s all worth it to him and naturally it all comes down to a traumatic event that happened to him a long time ago.
Chris is the main character and I like the fact that he stands up to Abel at the very end, but it’s too little too late. He spends too much of the film trying to be polite to Abel when he should be more direct. Abel loves to torment the heroes only to pretend to be nice before pushing them back down again. It’s one of those social things that is hard to sidestep, but the heroes should definitely be willing to do so. Unfortunately, Chris is one of those guys who does have a whole lot of flaws, which really doesn’t help his case. He’s actually a very unlikable main character. He smokes behind his wife’s back and he does a poor job of exposing Abel’s actions.
Lisa suffers from her poor handling of the Abel case as well. After Abel threatens here and goes onto her property without permission, she doesn’t let Chris know. Instead they have another argument about their romantic drama. One area where I was definitely against Lisa was when she decided to skip her pills so that she could have a baby. Just dumping something like that on the main guy is pretty unreasonable. If she didn’t like the fact that he didn’t want a kid, just breaking up with him seems like the best option. It was a bit of a low blow to say the least and she’s no more likable than Chris.
One of the film’s negatives is naturally that there is a lot of romance and it’s not handled in a good way. There are films that can make a nice romance and there are others that just want to have the main characters constantly flirting and being provocative. This is the latter and they definitely don’t provide a good example to the other characters. You can’t blame the dad for not approving of Chris although Lisa definitely deserves half of the blame as well. They need to tone it down a lot and remember the good ole days where just holding hands was considered to be bold.
There is a subplot about a fire cloud that is approaching the house, but it ends up being a plot that doesn’t really go anywhere. It finally comes in at the end, but we don’t get a big fire to help the climax. No, instead it just gives us smoke. Luckily, that’s enough to get the police to run away so that Abel can make his final stand. The cops were pretty slow at the end since they see that a car has crashed and they’re still unsure of what to do. Telling the main character to drop his gun is great, but they should have also went to Abel to see if he was concealing one. They had quite a few cops on them so it would have still been pretty easy and relatively safe. At most, only 2-3 would be shot and they would be able to mow down the assailant.
Still, as I mentioned, the main negative of the film comes back down to the fact that it’s simply a chore to get through. The party scene with the unwilling consent from Chris was really bad and watching Abel constantly mess up their parties is just sad. The film just leaves a bad taste in your mouth and you’ll be waiting for it to end. You’ll also wonder how the main characters ever accepted the house since there are evidently no locks to secure the perimeter. It’s an easy matter for the villain to jump the fence or just walk in through one of the dozen entryways. You can never feel safe in such a house and I would have moved out (After defeating Abel) immediately.
Overall, Lakeview Terrace is a film that you will want to skip. You’re definitely not going to have fun watching it. Watching the police acting inappropriately while off duty is a stereotype that needs to go and there are no likable characters here. While the villain is really unlikable, it is still hard to root for the main characters since they are really below average when it comes to leads. The film also drags on a little since the heroes are just getting bullied for so long that you wonder when the climax will arrive. No, if you want a thriller film, go check out Final Fantasy VII Advent Children!