New to her stepmom role, Shirin moves into a duplex with her partner, Fredrik, and his son, Lucas. The new home feels like the right place to start becoming a family. But when Fredrik leaves for work, strange things are heard from the other, uninhabited side. Also, who is Lucas’ new friend?
The Evil Next Door Review
The Evil Next Door does something that’s difficult for any film to do: It perfectly balances an escalating plot with an emotional storyline. It’s pretty rare to describe a horror film as both legitimately scary and powerfully emotional, but that’s exactly how I would describe The Evil Next Door.
The premise is simple. A family moves into a new home—one half of a duplex, with the other side unoccupied. (Well, unoccupied by people. As you can likely guess, something sinister does reside there.) It’s a pretty classic haunted house premise, but The Evil Next Door immediately sets itself apart by setting up a different family dynamic with our core characters.
From the beginning, we see Shirin struggle to figure out her place in the family. She’s in a difficult position: she wants to support and care for Lucas, but at the same time, she doesn’t want to make him feel like she’s replacing his late mother. It’s a tough line to walk—one that only gets more challenging as Fredrik needs to travel for work, leaving Shirin and Lucas alone in their new home.
And of course, this is a horror movie. So when Fredrik leaves, the activity really starts to pick up too. The film does a great job of building a sense of supernatural unease. Knocking echoes from the empty side of the duplex. Footsteps travel down the hall, but no one’s there. The boarded-up entrance to the shared attic gets opened (you just know someone’s gonna regret that!). And Lucas starts talking to a little boy who isn’t there—as far as Shirin can see.
The tension in The Evil Next Door builds really well. Each scene reveals just a bit more about the terror the family is facing, keeping you on the edge of your seat. The more Shirin experiences, the more desperate she becomes to protect Lucas. You really want to reach into the screen and find a way to help her out, especially as Fredrik refuses to believe the force terrorizing his son is supernatural.
Probably the one real fault with this film comes at the end. The Evil Next Door resolves its emotional story arc beautifully, but this comes a bit at the expense of the horror. When the climactic showdown between Shirin and the evil entity begins, it’s heart-pounding, anxiety-inducing, and definitely scary. The resolution of that conflict…less so. It all comes to an end a bit abruptly, and even though part of me appreciates the optimism behind the ending, it did come off a bit anticlimactic.
Still, the overall scares in The Evil Next Door definitely deliver, and the emotional storyline with Shirin and Lucas makes you all the more invested in the outcome. When you watch a horror movie, you want to root for the protagonist, and you can definitely do that in this film. It’s a slightly different take on the genre, but for sure worth a watch.
The Evil Next Door is now playing in select theaters and available on VOD.