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Film / The Boy Next Door

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The Boy Next Door is a 2015 thriller movie starring Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, and John Corbett.

When a handsome, charming teenager named Noah (Guzman) moves in next door, newly separated high-school teacher Claire Peterson encourages his friendship and engages in a little bit of harmless (or so she thinks) flirtation. Although Noah spends much of the time hanging out with Claire's son, the teen's attraction to her is palpable. One night, Claire gives in to temptation and lets Noah seduce her, but when she tries to end the relationship, he turns violent.

This film contains examples of:

  • Antagonist Title: Noah, the "boy next door" of the title, is the antagonist of the film.
  • Artistic License – History: Noah presents Claire with a first edition of The Iliad. The "first edition" of Homer's epic poem dates back to roughly the 8th Century. B.C.
  • Artistic License – Law: Minor or not, Noah should not have been allowed to walk with little more than what amounts to a slap on the wrist (expulsion from school) for what was damn near the attempted murder of another teen. The cops should certainly have gotten involved, not to mention a heft lawsuit against Noah's guardian and the school system.
  • Asshole Victim: Jason has apparently been bullying Kevin for quite some time. Not many viewers cry over the ass whoopin' he receives from Noah, despite how excessive it might have been.
    • Noah himself even qualifies. After spending the whole movie creepily stalking Claire, trying to turn Kevin against his own mother and father, and attempting to rape Claire in the school bathroom and then try to ruin her life in general all because she didn’t wanna be with him and later being revealed that Noah killed his own dad as well as Vicky, he finally gets his well deserved comeuppance when Claire stabs an EpiPen in his eye and then drops a huge block that crushes his head.
  • Asthma Peril: Kevin has asthma, and nearly dies from an asthma attack that occurs during a boxing session in the school gym. Noah manages to help Kevin by giving him an EpiPen, which magically saves him.
  • Attempted Rape: Noah tries to have his way with Claire in the boys' bathroom during the Fall Fling, believing that he can remind her how nice their first time together was. She promptly kicks him in the crotch and runs away.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Noah seems to take on this role with Kevin. He helps him get the girl he likes, saves him when he has a serious allergic reaction and fends off bullies picking on him, albeit almost killing one of them. It's possible that he was trying to act like a paternal figure for Kevin, believing that he might have become his stepfather. He drops this behavior near the end, wanting him dead due to seeing him as an obstacle between him and Claire.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Claire's best friend Vicky is dead, but Noah has been stopped and Claire has saved her divided family and made amends with her ex-husband.
  • Cat Scare: When searching through Vicki's home, Claire gets scared by a cat yowling — before coming across Vicki's dead body.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Kevin's EpiPen.
  • Country Matters: Noah says this to vice-principal Vicky in an argument, along with some other nasty threats at the high school. It's so offensive to her that she attempts to slap him — only for Noah to stop her mid-slap, leading to Vicky expelling him from school.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Noah becomes this after Claire considers getting back with Garret. He pulls into her driveway and accuses her of toying with him despite having agreed to start over with her as friends.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Sure Jason was a bullying jerk, and many would argue that he had a brutal beatdown coming. But Noah probably could have stopped short of fracturing the kid's skull with a locker door.
  • Divorce Is Temporary: After being taken and nearly killed by Noah, Claire and her family have reunited with her telling her soon-to-be ex-husband that they're all going home together, hinting at a reconciliation.
  • Double Entendre: Noah drops two of these about his one-night stand with Claire, much to Garret and Kevin's obliviousness.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Noah loves his mother very much. Because she killed herself due to her husband's affair, Noah got his revenge by killing his father and his mistress.
  • Eye Scream: Claire stabs Noah in the eye with one of Kevin's EpiPens and later pokes the same eye with her finger.
  • Fan Disservice: Noah, while played by the handsome Ryan Guzman, attempts to force himself on an unwilling Claire in the school bathroom. Making the scene simply awful.
  • Fanservice: Noah and Claire's sex scene.
    • Allie performing oral sex on Noah after the Fall Fest.
    • Claire dressed in lingerie and trying on a pair of heels.
    • A shot of Noah's backside as Claire watches him from her window as he's undressed.
  • Freudian Excuse: Noah's father had an affair with another woman and his mother killed herself because of the depression it caused her. As such, he killed his father and his mistress — eventually developing a dangerous obsession with finding a replacement Parental Substitute and lover in the form of Claire.
  • Genre Shift: It starts off as a romantic drama for the first third of the movie, but then turns into a psychological horror for the remaining two-thirds.
  • Hate Sink: Noah starts to have absolutely ZERO redeeming qualities as the movie progresses and then revealing his true colours when Claire rejects him
  • Hope Spot: When Claire thanks Noah in the gym for saving her son Kevin's life and they agree to start fresh as friends, there's a hint that this story might actually have a happy ending.
  • If I Can't Have You…: When Claire fully refuses Noah, he attempts to strangle her twice and murder her family when she makes it clear he'll never have her.
  • Insult Backfire: When Noah hits on Claire continually in the kitchen, she tells him to "go fuck yourself". His response: "I'd rather fuck you".
  • It's All About Me: Noah isn't particularly selfless in his quest to keep Claire at his side. He's often judgmental and condescending to her, and shows little willingness to compromise with her on better terms.
  • It Doesn't Mean Anything: Claire's reaction to her one-night stand with the younger Noah the morning after. She realizes she simply got caught up in the moment and, due to the stress of her separation from her husband, gave in to fleeting emotions that only felt good momentarily. For her, the one-night fling meant nothing.
  • It Meant Something to Me: Their one-night stand meant far more to Noah than it did to Claire, so he doesn't take it well when she tells him it was a mistake and that they should just stay friends.
  • Lifetime Movie of the Week: It has all the makings of a Lifetime movie. A married woman finds out that her husband cheated on her, her relationship with her son is going awry, and she contemplates a divorce. Then she has a one-night stand with a younger man and, rather than leave her alone, stalks her, almost rapes her, and tries to make her his by blackmailing her and killing everyone in her life in order to isolate her. The ending cements this with her fighting off the guy and killing him when he attempts to kill her son.
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: Noah becomes dangerously obsessed with Claire, the single mother of his best friend, who says she's old enough to be his mother. When it's revealed that Noah's mother committed suicide due to his father cheating and Noah, as revenge, murdered his father and his mistress... doesn't prove to help this.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Noah's pursuit for Claire leads him to stalking, blackmail, and murder — all in the name of ensuring Claire can become his.
  • Love Triangle: Garret/Claire/Noah.
  • Mama Bear: Claire becomes one for her son. When Noah is about to kill her son, she drops an engine block on him, killing him instantly.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Noah threatens to release photos and a video of his one-night stand with Claire unless she becomes his.
    • Actively works to undermine Kevin's relationship with his father Garrett to strengthen his own position as Kevin's substitute "father figure" and Claire's lover.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Viewing Claire's family and Vicki as threats towards his "relationship" with Claire, Noah attempts to kill her husband and son and does succeed in killing Vicki.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Claire's reaction the morning after spending the night with Noah. She's instantly horrified by her actions.
  • Not Good with Rejection: The main plot is a result of Claire refusing to date Noah after their one-night stand.
  • Not Staying for Breakfast: After her one-night-stand with Noah, Claire immediately regrets it and tries to leave as soon as possible. As she hurriedly dresses, Noah walks in to surprise her with a breakfast tray.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Garret's affair with someone in business back in San Francisco. As Vicki reminds Claire, "the San Francisco treat" and that she supposedly smelled like chocolate chip cookies. Claire and Kevin remind Garret of his affair constantly.
  • Papa Wolf: Played with. Noah takes on this role while befriending Claire's son Kevin. Saving his life from an anaphylactic shock with his EpiPen and attacking the bullies picking on him.
    • Garrett breaks free of his bonds and tries to get into Noah's ass when Kevin and Claire are threatened. Unfortunately, a gunshot stops him short.
  • Replacement Goldfish: It's implied Claire is possibly this for Noah on a maternal and romantic level due to his own mother committing suicide.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: When Noah attacks one of the bullies threatening Kevin, the bully's gang reacts by running away.
  • Self-Made Orphan: After his mother killed herself, Noah murdered his father and his mistress, blaming them for his mother's death.
  • Stacy's Mom: From the first meeting on, Noah begins hanging out with Kevin in order to become closer to the attractive Claire.
  • Stalking is Love: At least, that's what Noah believes but for Claire, it's just naturally just creepy.
  • Stalker Shrine: When Claire breaks into Noah's house to erase the pictures and video of her fling with Noah, she finds a wall plastered with various pictures of her.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: A reoccurring theme for the movie.
    • Claire's husband cheated on her with another woman during a business trip. She became paranoid about any business trips he took afterward, fearing they were just an excuse for him to go out and see other women.
    • Because of the former and current leanings of a divorce, Claire cheats on her estranged husband by having a one-night stand with Noah, leading to his dangerous obsession with her.
    • The backstory for Noah's family involves his father being unfaithful to his mother. Because of the affair, Noah's mother became depressed and committed suicide. After this, his father went on to have a full relationship with his mistress.
  • Too Dumb to Live: After Claire finds Vicki's body, she runs to her car, but doesn't bother to lock it or drive away from the house while she calls the police. This results in her getting caught by Noah.
  • Yandere: Noah. He starts out as a Nice Guy living as a next-door neighbor to Claire and her son. He develops a somewhat innocent crush on her and bonds with her over their shared interests. When he seduces her, he asks her to let him love her. After their one-night stand, he tries to develop a deeper relationship with her; doing things such as making breakfast for her and sending her flowers as an apology for his behavior. However, once she makes it clear she's not interested and is even going to reconcile with her estranged husband, he becomes violent, possessive, and manipulative. He's even willing to destroy her credibility as a teacher with video and pictures of their one-night stand unless she became his girlfriend. He was also willing to kill her best friend, husband, and son, believing he can only gain her love with all of their "obstacles" gone.