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Craig R. Baxley
Roy and Bo leave their small town the weekend after graduation for a short road trip to LA. Soon, they find themselves lashing out and leaving a trail of bodies behind them. The violence escalates throughout. Written by
Josh Pasnak <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Boys Next Door is an ugly, but generally gripping film about two losers who decide on a whim to spend the weekend in Los Angeles after graduating from high school. Charlie Sheen (Bo) and Maxwell Caulfield (Roy) play these two punks pretty convincingly, and this low-budget film lets them flex their muscles while terrorizing anyone unlucky enough to get in their path.
The film begins by showing us pictures of seemingly normal-looking serial killers while at the same time using audio commentary to detail the number of victims they had. The actions of the two in this film really don't seem to be patterned after any particular killer, but this early footage is just trying to tell us that virtually anyone we see might have violent tendencies.
We see a little of their last day of school. Bo strikes out with a hot chick. Nobody wants them to come to a big party later that night. The boys crash it anyway. Roy pisses in the pool, and the boys steal the family dog and take it with them out to L.A.. Once the guys get to L.A., pure mayhem ensues. First of all, they beat an Iranian clerk at a gas station senseless, nearly killing him. Then, they go to the beach and hit an old lady in the head with a beer bottle. Later on that evening, these two hoodlums graduate to murder. They pick up a gay man at a gay bar and kill him at his place in West Hollywood. Then they murder a young couple just because they're jealous that they can't get a hot chick like the young woman. Things are capped off by the senseless killing of a new-age hippie woman while she's getting it on with Bo. Roy seems to get jealous, then he violently shakes her to death after dissing her new-age values. By then, the cops are hot on their trail, and they corner the two punks at a shopping mall. The conclusion may or may not surprise you.
The acting is very good. Sheen is decent enough, but Caulfield is the guy you will remember. This in not the same Maxwell Caulfield we were rooting for in Grease 2. This guy is one seriously screwed-up individual who takes to murder like a fish to water. Penelope Spheeris does a very good job with the limited budget in one of her earliest efforts. When watching this film now, you can't help but be reminded of the Columbine tragedy of 1999. The kids that caused that bloodbath were probably a lot like Bo and Roy. For some reason, they just couldn't conform, and they saw no other alternative but to take out their frustration on society. There also seems to be a bit of social commentary with the final ten minutes of the film taking place in the mall. I think the film is trying to say that kids of the 1980s were a bankrupt generation who had nowhere else to turn from their problems except shopping malls or other consumer venues. Arcades, too, for that matter.
Overall, this is an ugly film that will make you think about it for quite a while after it's over.
7 of 10 stars.
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