While the inevitable sex scene is supposed to be incredibly sensual, the lusciousness of the scenario loses all credibility when Noah unashamedly ignores Claire's desperate cries of protest, begging him to stop. It's hard to make a lovemaking scene seem poetic when the prelude to the entire act is founded on a heinous crime. The message of the scene is simple: mark your territory on a woman long enough and she will eventually succumb to your every desire. It's a repulsive and degrading scene and, worst of all, it doesn't end there. It becomes evident to Claire that Noah isn't the sweetheart who befriended her lonely son. He's quite the opposite; a psychopath in every sense of the word. He eventually gets violent and Claire is left hiding their terrible secret and wondering what to do. Cohen's The Boy Next Door is supposed to be an erotic thriller yet advocates the idea of violence against women and, seemingly without any remorse, hyper-sexualises the concept of domestic abuse. It's a preposterous film, a complete and total failure on all accounts, and would be best used as a future exemplar of how not to make a movie.
This review was originally published to coincide with the film's UK theatrical release in February 2015.
Julia Alexander | @loudmouthjulia