What would you do if you found out someone living in your building is a serial killer? A man, whose identity is known, kills his own neighbors ― including a middle-school girl ― living in his building, and continues to stay there even after committing the grisly murders. All the neighbors in the film are reluctant to act due to self-interest. One character does not want the property price to fall after a scandal. Another wants to avoid attention from the police, as he has just five months left before his statute of limitations runs out. Some simply do not want to meddle without evidence, clinging to their daily routines. Meanwhile, the criminal continues to kill.
This film is a bit different in a way that it reveals who the murderer is from the beginning of the film. Although there isn’t much time to build the characters up, each character is unique in his/her way (in other words, you won’t have to worry about mixing up the characters). Actors and actresses did a fantastic job of acting out specific character. From times this film is very suspenseful, and in other instances, it is quite funny. This film has got me ponder about trust, and communications among people. Also, people are so hesitant about making the right decision. When someone’s life is at stake, we must do everything to help. In common sense, it is right to notify the police when someone raises suspicion (of possible murder). There could have been a lot less victims had people taken actions.
The Neighbors is based on a popular web comic by none other than Kang Pool, whose previous work has been adapted into Late Blossom and Pained (both 2011) among others. While they are concerned a lot about the re-development to come, the people in the apartment building are disturbed by a terrible incident in their neighbourhood. There is a serious killing case which has not been solved by the police yet, and its latest victim is a young middle school girl who lives in their apartment building. Her stepmother (Kim Yoon-jin) has been tormented by her guilt due to the fact that she could have saved her stepdaughter at that time, and now she sees her ghost coming back to their home every night.
Though nobody gets enough screen time to fully develop as a character, perhaps director Kim Whee was reticent to trim too much out of the original work but he should have taken some care to adapt the story into a workable film format. Noteworthy in one of these roles is Ma Dong-seok as a very tough ex-con you wouldn’t want to cross in the parking lot. I admire the effort but it may have been better served in a longer form medium such as a mini-series. Then again this seems to be an endemic problem throughout Kim Whee’s work. The acting is professional throughout, leading it is Soo-yeon’s incredibly obnoxious young Mom and the old janitor, who sees his chance for extra tips. All in all, a decent thriller.