The Landlady

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Evil doesn't knock.
It has the key.


Back of Box:  TALIA SHIRE stars as Melanie Leroy, a woman who wants nothing more than to settle down with a good man and have a family.  But her dream is shattered when she discovers that her husband is having an affair, and she kills him.  Soon after, she takes over as the landlady of an apartment house she has inherited.  As Melanie becomes more self-deluded, she will go to any length - including murder - to make sure no one interferes with her plans to snag the ideal husband.
Plot:  A woman rides her bike past a neighbor's house and sees her husband's car parked around back.  She decides to do a little spying, but when she witnesses her husband cheating on her all hell breaks loose.  After killing her husband by way of allergic reaction she flees to her recently inherited apartment complex.  Once she settles in as the new landlady she sets her sights on a different target, the perfect man to become a part of her perfect family.  There's only one problem, nosy tenants, and the landlady will do anything to keep her secret and her new obsession safe.  Honestly, I liked it.  I am a big fan of stalkers, especially when you actually get to know them and it's not just some crazy person in a mask.  It gets a little over-the-top at points, but you take the good with the bad.  
Acting:  Talia Shire as the landlady, Melanie Leroy, is a cheese-ball riot.  She plays psychotic to a tee and is a ton of fun.  The rest of the cast is just as fun, but all of them, except Jack Coleman's Patrick Foreman character, are the reason for my over-the-top comment.  Granted they aren't all over-the-top all the time, but sometimes it's pretty noticeable.  Didn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying the characters, though.  Pepper McAllen (Bruce Weitz), the over-zealous handy man, Liz Reese (Melissa Behr), the drug addicted girlfriend, Justine Welch (Bette Ford), the uppity bitch next door, and Venice Dorian (Susie Singer Carter), the slut across the hall, are just a few of the likeable personalities on display in this one.
GoreBody Count (8)  This film is more of a thriller, which explains the lack of gore, but it still holds true to the slasher spirit.  Beating someone to death with a freezer door, I believe, is in that spirit, as well as crushing someone at the bottom of a staircase with a "dead weight" heavy trunk.  There are also a lot of other fun weapons on display such as a candlestick, a knife, and even a handful of pills.  This slasher does use a gun on occasion, but never in an obtrusive way, it's more or less just to move things along.
Suspense:  The stalker angle gives us some pretty creepy imagery.  The fire alarm camera and the two-way mirror make for some very interestingly tense moments.  I think the best moment is Talia Shire in the wedding dress with Jack Coleman tied to her bed.  There's even a scene in this film that I find incredibly hard to watch, and not because it's bad.  The forced suicide just doesn't sit well with me, it's depraved and extremely unnerving.
Directing:  Well planned and well executed would be fitting to say.  Nothing about it was too different or fresh, for that matter, but it definitely does the trick.  I'd have to say that my favorite part about this section is how Rob Malenfant's camera work gave off a very lucid, living-nightmare feel which synced up perfectly with Talia Shire's character's warped perception of reality.
Tech:  The lighting was weird, there were just a lot of unnecessary shadows.  I think things clicked when it mattered, but otherwise it was way off.  The soundtrack was simple and subdued and meshed well with the rest of the sound, which also worked well.  Some of Talia Shire's aside moments are a little quite, but the overall effect always managed to stay intact.
Other:  I just wanted to mention that there are boobs in this film.  It only happens on two separate occasions, but they are there for anyone that requires them as a prerequisite for horror.  I could care less, but to each his own. 
Final Word:  I had a lot of fun with this film the first time I watched it, it has always stuck with me.  I grew up a little before I saw it again, but knowing what I do now makes me love it even more.  It's a delightful piece of late '90s horror trash that has more than earned its place in my DVD collection.


Don't Move, Don't Breathe, and Whatever You Do...DON'T LOOK BEHIND YOU!