NEXT DOOR is a new comedic thriller from South Korea that has a lot going for it. The first half is stronger than the second, but it’s still very entertaining. The film had its North American premiere at Fantasia 2022. Read our full Next Door movie review here!
NEXT DOOR is a thriller-comedy hybrid that works remarkably well. Also, it’s from South Korea so you know it’s going to be character-driven. However, unlike most South Korean movies, this one doesn’t run very long and has a runtime of around an hour and a half.
We’re screening this film for Fantasia Film Festival 2022, which is where it’s getting its North American premiere. A pretty perfect match!
Continue reading our Next Door movie review below.
The perfect main character for this genre-hybrid
The first half gave me both sweaty palms (from the thriller elements) and room to laugh out loud several times. As such, the genre-hybrid works perfectly. However, the movie works best in the first half when it’s focused on just the main character.
He is a truly lovable goofball, who should not drink alcohol and needs to get a grip on his own life.
When we meet him, his living in a studio apartment and trying to get into the police academy – for the fifth time! Also, he loves rapping and will make up rhymes and beats that go with everything. From fried rice to the test he’s studying for.
It’s very entertaining, but not because he’s good at it. Though he seems to believe he is and that’s half the battle, I suppose.
From great to good!
While Next Door is an overall good experience, it is actually more than just “good” during its first half. In fact, it’s pretty damn great. The main character, Chan-woo, should be focused on his upcoming fifth attempt at applying to the police academy.
However, he has no money left in his bank account so he reaches out to a friend for a small loan. The friend offers to give him money if he’ll just join their small group of friends for a quick meal. Having no money and no food (apart from the fried rice leftovers he’s always rapping about), he agrees.
Unfortunately, he also agrees to a drink. And then another… and another. He wakes up in the apartment next door (yep, there’s the title) and there’s a body lying in a pool of blood next to him. Now Chan-woo tries to piece together what happened last night while battling a crazy hangover.
All of this works really well while he’s on his own. However, when someone eventually joins him in this apartment, things slow down. Too much. All the energy created by just seeing him act out various theories is dissipating. It doesn’t become a bad movie, but it isn’t great anymore either.
Next Door premiering at Fantasia 2022
What really makes this movie is absolutely the brilliant performance by lead actor Oh Dong-min as Chan-woo. You may recognize Oh Dong-min from the extremely popular Netflix zombie series Kingdom though he played a very small part. In any case, you should remember him after this movie.
This is a very impressive first feature film from writer/director Yeom Ji-ho and I cannot wait to see what comes next from this immerging South Korean filmmaker talent!
As already mentioned, Next Door is screening at Fantasia, which also serves as the North American premiere for the South Korean comedic thriller. Hopefully, the movie will be picked up by Netflix or Shudder which should guarantee the very wide release it deserves!
Next Door is having its North American premiere at Fantasia 2022 on July 17, 2022.
Director: Yeom Ji-ho
Writer: Yeom Ji-ho
Cast: Oh Dong-min, Choi Hee-jin, Lee Jung-hyun
Chan-woo is on his fifth attempt to get into the police academy, when his friends make him a strange offer to pay the registration fee in exchange for just one drink at the bar. The next morning, he wakes up hungover in his loud neighbour’s apartment with a corpse lying face down in a pool of blood.