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Destroy All Neighbors Review: Gore, Gags, and Rock in this Symphony of Screams

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“Destroy All Neighbors” emerges as a splatter-comedy that rides on its irreverent humor and a scrappy, DIY punk spirit. Directed by Josh Forbes and penned by Charles Pieper and Jared Logan, the film is a quirky, gory romp through the challenges of creative ambition in the most surreal of circumstances.

The movie centers around William Brown, portrayed by Jonah Ray Rodrigues, a sound engineer and aspiring prog-rock musician whose life is upended by an array of eccentric characters, including the spineless Scotty, a simpering studio boss, and Vlad, a noisy, sinister neighbor played by Alex Winter. Vlad’s untimely, accidental decapitation by William sets off a bizarre chain of events, transforming the film into a dark comedy about a reluctant “serial manslaughterer.”

“Destroy All Neighbors” is notable for its unique blend of humor and horror, pivoting on the charm of Rodrigues’ straight-man performance and the rich practical effects, a nod to the style of Frank Henenlotter. The film is a visual treat, showcasing impressive effects from SFX guru Gabe Bartalos, which include moments like a limbless torso playing drums with animated entrails.

Despite its comedic aspirations, the film’s narrative feels somewhat constrained, focusing heavily on the humor and eccentricities of its characters while leaving little room for deeper exploration of William’s character arc. His girlfriend, Emily, played by Kiran Deol, is regrettably relegated to a reactive role, underscoring a missed opportunity to flesh out the story’s emotional landscape further. Moreover, while breakneck, the film’s pacing sometimes sacrifices depth for laughs, leading to some characters and comedic moments overstaying their welcome.

The movie’s humor can be a double-edged sword. The jokes and gags, ranging from rock ‘n’ roll misunderstandings to exaggerated antics of the undead, offer ample amusement but sometimes feel disconnected from a cohesive narrative thread. However, the chemistry among the cast is palpable, with Ray’s interactions with co-stars being a highlight, showcasing a collaborative energy that buoys the film’s lighter moments.

“Destroy All Neighbors” is an entertaining, if somewhat uneven, foray into splatter-comedy. It’s a film that celebrates its rough edges, reveling in its gory, outrageous humor. While it may not delve deeply into character development or narrative complexity, it compensates with a unique visual style and a commitment to its comedic and horror elements.

‘Destroy All Neighbors’ is akin to a chaotic, late-night jam session that careens wildly between notes of absurdity and strokes of genius. It’s a cinematic experience where the crescendo of laughter meets the shriek of horror, all set to a soundtrack as unpredictable as its plot. In the end, ‘Destroy All Neighbors’ doesn’t just knock on the door of conventional horror-comedy; it kicks it down with a drumstick in one hand and a laugh track in the other.

RATING: 3.0 out of 5.0.

Destroy All Neighbors is now streaming on Shudder.

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