Dir. Josh Forbes (2024)
A music producer accidentally kills his neighbor and tries to make a great prog rock album.
Progressive rock is extremely controversial within the music community, a genre that has drawn as many critics as it has fans. For everyone lauding the accomplishments of bands like Pink Floyd and Rush there are two more waiting to talk about how they're overrated and how animal sounds don't make for good music. For those that love it, however, prog rock is lifechanging and boundary pushing, the type of music that makes you feel like you have a deeper understanding of the sonic foundations of the universe. Today's movie, the upcoming Destroy All Neighbors that will be streaming January 12th on Shudder, deals with one such fan who is desperately trying to complete his epic prog rock album while dealing with the neighbor from Hell.
William (Jonah Ray) is a man who is struggling with his two greatest passions: music producing and his girlfriend Emily (Kiran Deol). He lives in an apartment building run by the demanding-but-otherwise-unhelpful Eleanore (Randee Heller), and his new neighor Vlad (Alex Winter) is a real piece of shit. After some bizarre circumstances result in his accidental murder of the neighbor, William finds himself trying to cover up his crime as one thing goes wrong after another. Will he be able to escape punishment for Vlad's murder? Will Emily be get past her irritation at his musical devotion? Will he ever finish making his album? Destroy All Neighbors answers all these questions and more, including the most important one: what would Kumail Nanjiani be like as a security guard?
Shudder has been releasing some pretty good horror comedies lately, and it's latest offering is no different. Destroy All Neighbors, which boasts Bill & Ted's Alex Winter as one of its producers and stars, is a raucous horror comedy with some excellent (and disgusting gore), a movie that feels very much like it has the potential to be a huge hit on the horror streaming network. It's downright hilarious at times, and contains a fantastic story focused around one man's singular dedication to music and all of the problems it brings. It's also surprisingly heartwarming, with all of the elements of William's seemingly disastrous life combining to make him an especially compelling character.
The acting in the film is phenomenal, led by its star Jonah Ray. Ray, who also produced the film alongside Winter and Russell Sanzgiri, brings William to life in a way only he can. Winter, who plays multiple roles in the film, is delightful and hilarious, very much an extension of the Bill Preston role that made him famous while also being the world's most obnoxious neighbor. Nanjiani, who I personally love but only has a cameo role in the film, makes the most of his limited screentime by delivering the funniest performance in the film. The addition of Thomas Lennon (Reno 911) and Ryan Kattner as William's music producer boss and their musical talent, are excellent as well, helping to round out a fantastic cast.
The writing, the music, the cinematography... there's nothing about this film that doesn't work. It's a fantastic party movie, one that fits perfectly into watching it with a crowd who can appreciate the gore and the sense of humor. The script, as well as the effects, are reminiscent of films like The Evil Dead and the cheesy films of the 80's, and it leans heavily into its horror comedy elements in much the same way. It's over-the-top, but it's also exceptionally watchable, a fantastic effort at adding to Shudder's already considerable catalogue of movies well worth a watch. I'm a big fan of Destroy All Neighbors, and while the name of the film is lacking a bit, the rest of the film will be a hit with the horror audience.
Who this movie is for: Horror comedy fans, Shudder devotees, Pink Floyd fans
Bottom line: Destroy All Neighbors is an excellent horror comedy with some fantastic gore effects to go along with a sense of humor that rarely misses. The actors are good, the cinematography is steller, and the focus on prog rock is both hilariously apt for the style of film and one that I've never seen in horror. It's a delight to see Alex Winter back on-screen, and this is one you'll definitely want to watch out for. Check it out streaming on Shudder now.