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Film / Naboer

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Naboer (roughly translated as Next Door) is a Norwegian psychological horror film created in 2005. It begins with a newly-divorced man helping to pack the bags for his ex-girlfriend Ingrid. When he’s done, he’s greeted by Anne, an attractive, mysterious woman, who claims to live in an apartment right next to him that he never noticed before. She tells him that she has a sister called Kim who was abused and asks him to watch her while she’s gone out. From that point onwards events begin to rapidly spiral out of control.

The film was made with the budget equivalent of 7 million US dollars, most of which went into the actors’ salaries. It isn’t widely known outside of Scandinavia, but it was praised internally for the sense of suspense and claustrophobia it has created. It is also one of the few films to have received an over-18 rating there.

Tropes featured in this film include:

  • Bizarrchitecture: The sisters’ apartment is visibly bigger on the inside, fitting in at least a dozen rooms in a space that is no more than 10 metres long on the outside.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: When Jon finally manages to make it safely into his apartment, he takes a hammer and attempts to smash through the wall that connects the two apartments. The result horrifies him enough for a scream.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Akes staying behind in a car where you would arrive too late to save … instead of confronting physically weaker Jon alongside her
  • Downer Ending: After following Jon for the entire film we find out that he was a twin murderer. The ending makes it crystal clear that he’s not going to get away with it, either.
  • Grunting Orgasm: Happens in the one scene.
  • Heel Realisation: Happens to Jon himself when the wall is smashed through, revealing something quite different from what he thought.
  • I Love the Dead: What a certain event actually turns out to be like.
  • Ironic Echo: Many throughout the film. It’s safe to say that about half the lines in the film get repeated with completely different meaning.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The entire plot is effectively the result of Jon having one after murdering his ex-girlfriend and her lover that he couldn’t deal with normally.
  • Never My Fault: Savagely deconstructed throughout the film. Effectively, the whole second apartment and the people there are Jon’s attempts to shift the guilt for what he has done on other people, which gradually breaks down as he gets closer to the truth.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If Ake turned up at the meeting in person, or at least didn’t instruct Ingrid to honk if she’s danger, then Jon might not have snapped and killed them both.