Lakeview Terrace Review
Here's a riddle for you: You have just moved into a new neighborhood and you discover that the man next door is a somewhat OCD police officer with a volatile temper who has taken an instantaneous dislike to you. Would you:
A. Try to keep interactions to a minimum.
B. Re-pack your boxes and call the moving vans back.
C. Purposely attempt to piss this neighbor off just to show you can have an attitude, too.
If you chose C, then you would be a welcome addition to Lakeview Terrace, where the homes are stately, the non-violent neighbors vanish before you even set foot on the property, and your balcony has a magnificent view of those legendary California wildfires.
Chris and Lisa have chosen this very spot as the ideal place for their first home. Abel Turner, the officer next door, would like them to reconsider this. He's a tense man. He's strict with his kids, fastidious about his home, and seems to get a rush out of playing "bad cop" when he's on patrol. He also has some bitter memories that kick in when he sees Chris and Lisa together. Chris gets off on the wrong foot pretty quickly by doing irksome things like dumping his cigarette butts on Abel's side of the fence, playing annoying rap music, and being part of an interracial marriage. Abel doesn't show this early antagonism to Lisa, until after he catches a long peek of them during an intimate moment in their pool one evening. Following that, he's more likely to burn them than the encroaching fires.
Not many big twists to this film, but Samuel L. Jackson is always enjoyable when he's in full character mode. He is sympathetic and obnoxious at the same time. He can go from morose to angry to comedic to brutal in a single minute and make it believable. You'll see the ending coming a mile away, but he gives this movie just enough oomph to keep the audience from losing interest. Who cares about the neighbors...what is this guy going to do next? Whether he's spying, intimidating, or worse, Abel is the real center of this story and the one who'll be remembered best when the credits roll.