The Boy Next Door and The Best Friend Phenomenon!

Published January 30, 2015 by biggayhorrorfan
"Lady, you are gonna get me killed!"

“Lady, you are gonna get me killed!”

Formula is good for babies and genre fans, but eventually we all outgrow it. While, current (very successful) cheese fest The Boy Next Door does offer some nice reverse fetishism with hunky Ryan Guzman being the prime target of the film’s voyeuristic gaze, it also provides an expected trope (along with its deliriously fun plot holes and frequently unbelievable circumstances) that probably needs to change. Like many thrillers before it, including such offerings as The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, The Juror and this fall’s No Good Deed, Claire, the beleaguered heroine of The Boy Next Door, has a sassy best friend (spoiler alert!) who meets an unfortunate end at the hands of the film’s twisted villain. The_Boy_Next_Door Here, just like the ladies in the previous flicks, this friend, a high school vice principal played with sarcastic warmth by Kristin Chenoweth, is successful, highly sexual and single. Just like the heroines in the other features, this is the complete opposite of Claire (Jennifer Lopez), a mother whom, despite expected flaws and one questionable mistake, is truly struggling to come to grips with her seemingly shattered family life. While this devise does have some practical purposes, including presenting an extreme sense of emotional resolve for the primary victim, one has to wonder what kind of picture this actually paints. A moment’s contemplation produces the thought that the creators of these vehicles, whether intentionally or unintentionally, are telling us that any woman who doesn’t want a traditional family unit, who wants to thoroughly explore her sexuality and thumb her nose at the patriarchy by having a profitable career, deserves to die. This notion comes off as especially grievous in the case of Someone’s Watching Me, a 1978 John Carpenter directed television film, in which the wise cracking bestie is, also, a lesbian, played with forthright dignity by genre icon Adrienne Barbeau. (Interestingly, Guzman’s habitual nakedness along with the combined presences of Chenoweth, an acclaimed Broadway performer, and Lopez, a fashion icon and diva with multiple club hits, seemingly nods in the direction of The Boy Next Door achieving a healthy gay following, something the producers, in a progressive moment, must have seemingly intended.) Granted, when all is said and done, the murder of the vibrant companion is such an established element now, that some audience members may feel let down if it doesn’t occur. But, in all honesty, it couldn’t be too hard to change the demographics of said character to something less predictable and less, dare I say it, offensive. Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan! http://www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

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