Pastor Zach thinks that he has the world at his fingertips. He’s a published author and has a successful church. He loves his wife and son. Zach wants to invite everyone to church, including his offbeat neighbor next door. However, the closer that Zach gets to his neighbor, the stranger things get. Before he knows it, Zach and his family are fighting for their lives.
Production Quality (2 points)
Overall, the production of Thy Neighbor fine and without many issues. Video quality and camera work are professional. Sets, locations, and props, for the most part, are acceptable. Audio quality is average due to a few concerns with background sounds. Further, editing is a bit vanilla in places. Thus, a slightly above-par score is warranted here.
Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)
It’s evident that the writers of this narrative were purposely trying to be weird and edgy in their storytelling. However, this plot, despite casting a realistic contrast between plastic Christianity and the real world outside the church bubble, falls into various suspense tropes, such as convenient circumstances that just happen to set up certain conclusions. Unusual asides dominate the story, and bizarre conversations drive the narrative in the direction that the writers want it to go rather than where it could naturally go. Also, some obvious plot holes hurt an otherwise interesting idea. It’s realistic that a pastor would want to sacrifice family time for “saving the world,” and there is some candid dialogue about canned church language and practices. The characters actually have a lot of potential and come off as very realistic at times. Authentic struggles of ministry families are correctly portrayed. Nonetheless, the possibly interesting mystery is short-circuited by an absurd concluding sequence in which all the “twists” are revealed at just the right time as characters do illogical things just for the suspense goals to be fulfilled. In the end, the forced and unnatural message doesn’t really work, but the amount of potential in this concept warrants a meager rating.
Acting Quality (3 points)
The acting of Thy Neighbor is actually the strongest aspect of the film. There are not many errors in this section as line delivery and emotions are on-point. As a whole, few negatives can be pointed out as the cast members seem comfortable in their roles. Therefore, a perfect score is awarded here.
Overall, this screenplay had lots of potential, but it needed major restructuring. This could have been accomplished by starting from the end and working backward to improve character development. To borrow a statement from the movie, the fat needed to be trimmed to make for a tighter and more meaningful story. Also, side characters needed better development. Further, conclusion needed to rely on fewer suspense tropes and more realism. Hence, this creative team has a bright future if they make the necessary adjustments.
Final Rating: 6 out of 10 points