Destroy All Neighbors Review

Shudder’s latest release is a splatterfest with some heart and an absolutely killer soundtrack but it’s Alex Winter that steals the show!

PLOT: Struggling prog-rock musician William Brown finds himself in a living nightmare when he accidentally kills Vlad, the neighbor from hell.

REVIEW: We’ve all had neighbors that make too much noise and drive us crazy right? It almost feels like a rite of passage. The bass of their music pierces every corner of your mind as you’re just trying to live your life. Every footstep sounds like the stomping of an elephant. But what if, when trying to defuse the situation, you somehow manage to murder them? Destroy All Neighbors takes this concept, adds in some prog rock and wonderful creature FX, and gives us a fun time at the movies.

William Brown (as played by Jonah Ray) is a bit of a loser—at least, that’s what the film will try to convince you of. But despite living in a craphole apartment, the man has a loving girlfriend and a job at a recording studio. In reality, he isn’t doing quite as poorly as he is in his mind. But there’s no telling him that, as he obsesses over finishing his mythical first album. I’ve been following Ray since his Meltdown/Nerdist days, so it’s cool to see him in a lead role. His devolution into a madman isn’t entirely believable, as it ramps up rather quickly. But it’s a fun ride getting there.

The real highlight of Destroy All Neighbors is Alex Winter as Vlad. I’m sure most of us remember Winter as his turn as Bill from Bill and Ted. Though it may be more apropos to think of his role in He’s absolutely unrecognizable as Will’s new neighbor. The makeup FX work is great and he completely disappears behind it. There are no instances where Winter’s natural voice comes through. He’s really giving the role his all. And I enjoyed that they were able to give him an out-of-makeup role as well. But it’s the character himself that stands out so much, as practically plays a game with Will–taunting him. It’s like he wants Will to reach his potential but goes about it in a very strange way.

Thomas Lennon and Kumail Nanjiani show up but each of their roles is rather brief. I guess when you’ve got cool friends, you want them in your movies. I could have gone for a little more use for them concerning the plot. They get some of the biggest laughs so it wasn’t all for naught. But this is really the Jonah Ray show, being the centerpiece of the action. There’s a little Ash Williams to his physical comedy which will always be a positive to this horror fan. Plus, I’ll always get a kick out of someone getting sprayed in the face with blood.

Jonah Ray in Destroy All Neighbors (2023).

The opening credits are so loud and colorful that it sets the stage perfectly for what’s to come. I really wasn’t expecting this movie to lean in so hard to the craziness. But it did and I enjoyed it even more because of it. Destroy All Neighbors goes very practical with the FX which really adds to the charm. These are of the Beetlejuice and Ghostbusters variety, so it almost feels straight from the past. Not bad company to be in however. There’s a coziness present, despite all the ooey-gooey effects.

I half expected Destroy All Neighbors to end with a “none of this really happened” style twist. The direction they head in is equally silly but it works for the plot. I liked the overall message of standing up for yourself. It’s always interesting to see how something like this can be a little sweet amongst all the carnage. I’m sure a lot of that has to do with my own messed-up sensibilities but it worked for me. While the jokes don’t always land, I love the world that is created here and I wish I could see more adventures with Vlad.


Arrow in the Head is proud to present an exclusive clip from the Shudder horror comedy Destroy All Neighbors


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