What could be safer than living next door to a cop? Well just about anything if that cop happens to be played by one of America’s leading black actors. Smug young marrieds Chris (Patrick Wilson) and Lisa (Kerry Washington) move to a posh hillside suburb in LA. African-American Lisa and white boy Chris soon attract the attention of anal neighbour and cop Abel Turner (Samuel L Jackson). Turner’s neighbourhood watch quickly turns into something much more sinister.
Lakeview Terrace is directed by but not written by Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men, Your Friends and Neighbours, The Wicker Man). It’s easy to see why he agreed to be a gun for hire on the project. LaButian issues of identity, race and gender hatred, the unreality of long term commitments and (crucially) nimby-ism – are all played out here with the terse pace of a decent thriller. In trying to avoid the conventions of both the suburban horror and corrupt cop thriller genres LaBute maybe treads a little bit too carefully as many of the scenes here feel blunted by compromise. That aside, Lakeview Terrace is a dark and menacing thriller for these credit crunch times (Turner’s harassment is aligned with the couple’s own money issues), one that bravely tries to deal with issues of grief and the apocalyptic nature of LA’s geographical and social placing in the world without the intervention of politically correct thought.
General release from Fri 5 Dec.