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Movie Reviews

[Fantasia ’22] ‘Next Door’ review: South Korean thriller filled with humor

More about details than clues.

Next Door is a South Korean thriller about a would-be police officer caught up in a mysterious death. Chan-woo (Oh Dong-min) has been trying for years to enlist in the police academy. After a night of heavy drinking, he wakes up hungover in the apartment of the nosy neighbors he has complained about. He looks over to find a body laying in a pool of blood and tries to piece everything together before the deadline for the application passes.

Oh Dong-min carries things with a hilarious performance. His comedic timing is spot on and the physical comedy is a mix of modern technique and stylings from old Hollywood. Adding weight is the fact he is alone for much of Next Door. It is literally a one person show. Next Door seamlessly weaves in its more populated scenes. There is never a sense of one style being more important than another. The interactions are strong and even though the humor takes a different form, it is just as funny. 

This is a result of fantastic writing that never places an emphasis on any one setting. The quality is best embodied in the story itself. As funny as Next Door allows itself to be, it is also a mystery. The focus is on Chan-woo and the other characters that are eventually introduced. The premise is interesting by default, but the the progressing plot adds more mystery.

This may bother some.

Ultimately, this may bother some. Next Door does not so much provide clues as it does details. This is not a story that invites anyone watching to try to solve what has happened. The ending may feel rushed by some and it does leave questions unintentionally answered. That being said, this is not a typical whodunnit and the story it does tell is entertaining.

Next Door is screening at the Fantasia Festival

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