Written by Matt Casado and Clayton Gardner
Directed by Christopher Haifley
Adam Scott...Ronnie Schwann
Mark Pellegrino...Keith Schwann
"In the summer of 1988 mayhem, murder and rape came calling..."
Ronnie Schwann is an empathetic, but troubled, young man with an unhealthy family life. His father was abusive, his older convict brother isn't much better, and his mother is addicted to meds, cigarettes and booze. Looking to give a little back to the community, he works as a caregiver at a halfway house. Upon accidentally walking in on a nude patient named Sarah, he develops improper feelings for her. When Sarah escapes from the hospital, Ronnie stumbles upon her on the street and takes him back to his house to seduce her. But then his brother shows up, fresh out of prison, and his plan for romance goes directly to hell, does not pass go, and he most certainly does not collect 200 dollars. What he does get it is a very frightened, and very sick girl tied to his bed.
Meanwhile, his freshly paroled brother gets right back into his old habits of expensive drugs, cheap whores, and thugged-up compadres--Brian Austin Green included! The last thing they want is police sniffing around the property, but they're on the trail of a missing girl--how far away can they be?
All of this unravels over the course of 24 hours, and it reeks of being "based on a true story"--although it isn't, and doesn't claim to be.
Sarah is mentally disabled. Ronnie is obviously slightly unstable. His mother isn't quite right. His brother suffers from criminal impulses. Really, this is a minor examination of mental illness and sociopathic behavior that could have fared better if it ventured further into the extreme. The pacing is a little slow at times, and the sleaze factor isn't nearly as high as you would initially think, but it's still an enjoyable film. The actors all did a great job with the material, and it was well edited--although they could have left the man dancing in his thong on the cutting room floor! It's also pretty well-scored, and doesn't come across at all as the low budget movie I was expecting. If the problems with pacing had been corrected, and perhaps a little more excitement thrown in, this could have been one hell of a movie.
This movie was originally named Ronnie, after it's primary character, but changed to the more marketable Killer Next Door when it was released on DVD. The new title may be more likely to lure people in, but it's extremely misleading--as is the cover art. Surely they could have found a middle ground in there somewhere.
For added fun, take a shot of booze every time someone says the word "Oregon." You'll be piss-drunk in no time.