The Neighbors are Watching (2023 Lifetime)
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Director: Haylie Duff
Writer: Ken Miyamoto
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Synopsis (via Lifetime)
When a handsome neighbor moves in across the street, a single woman trying to escape her past in the new subdivision believes she has witnessed her new neighbor committing a grisly murder. Unfortunately, nobody believes her. She is then forced to face her dark past head-on in a story full of twists, turns, and shocking revelations. Stars Kabby Borders and Will Holland (2023).
A woman named Amy sits in a cop car and is a suspect in the murder of her neighbor.
Flashback to Amy looking at houses in a suburban neighborhood. She takes the house on the spot and seems on the run from some dark memories. Amy is haunted by nightmares throughout the night.
The movie goes into a junty little unpacking montage that undercuts any tension from the nightmares. Amy’s neighbor, Betsy, lets herself in and brings a decorative lamp. She also gets the wine and gossip. (I think I will like Betsy.) Amy is less convinced and reluctantly shares about a bad breakup.
Amy starts her job at a new school; she makes friends with the Principal, Richard. Amy also meets some other neighbors, Jared and Nicole. They tell her about Betsy’s annual BBQ.
The BBQ happens, and the neighborhood gets along very well. Amy fits fight in. The next day, on a jog, a red car almost runs her over. Amy asks Besty about it, but somehow, Betsy brings the conversation back to Amy’s past relationship, which turns out to have been abusive.
A handsome man moves in next door, saving Amy from getting run over by another car. Amy needs to stop running with her AirPods. Amy asks Jarad and Nicole to help her bake a pie to take to her savior, Henry, and he is very thankful. He invites Amy over for dinner after another BBQ.
Amy can see into his window and watches him change. Later, she hears a noise in the house and asks Henry to come over and make sure everything is okay. He tells her she needs a new door and offers to fix it. Then they kiss.
The next night, after getting home from school, Amy finds an article about her past and pleads guilty to shooting her husband. She is creeped out and burns the article. Then the next next night, it is time for the date! Henry can see Amy getting ready in her room and sneaks a peek. The date goes well, and Amy shares about her tremulous marriage. Nate is understanding and says that no one should treat her that way.
Nosey Neighbor Betsy watches the whole thing from her house.
Oh, boy, a dating montage happens. A few months go by, and they haven’t spent a day apart. Henry has to leave town for work and oddly asks Amy if she is happy. She says she is.
Amy gets a threatening note in the mail with Henry gone and is paranoid. She asks Nate to call her before going on a run. (Amy runs so weirdly!) She has wine with the neighbors and asks them about the woman who lived in the house before her. Everyone laughs off the question, and Amy is left feeling even more on edge.
Amy sees Henry has returned from his trip and is ignoring his calls because he is dating another woman!
The next day, he acts like everything is okay, and Amy needs clarification. Amy confronts Henry and slaps him across the face, creating a scene for the neighborhood. He claims that the woman she saw was his sister. Amy apologizes for the misunderstanding, and he pumps the break on the relationship.
Amy sees Henry with the woman again and vents to Betsy, her only friend in the neighborhood. Amy confronts Henry again, and it doesn’t go any better than before.
Henry lets Amy into his home and is abusive. He knows about her past and tells her he will expose her if she tells anyone he is a bad guy. Amy can’t talk to Betsy anymore.
The incident with Henry brings back terrible memories of her husband and an accidental gunshot going off. Amy was found not guilty after a police investigation, but the memories still haunt her.
Amy witnesses Henry attacking a woman running from his house in her bra and panties. When the police arrive, Amy screams at them to help. She creates a scene, and the neighbors turn on her. The police officer asks Amy if she needs mental counseling and to maybe get some rest.
Richard calls Amy into his office and tells her that she is fired. The school board learned about her past and her assault charges with Henry. Amy is now jobless and living in a neighborhood that has it out for her.
Amy chugs wine alone instead of sleeping. Eventually, she passes out but wakes up in time to see Henry carrying a body to his trunk in a carpet!
While he is away, Amy sneaks into Henry’s house and looks for evidence. She finds blood on the floor and a website for prostitutes on his computer. Betsy sees Amy break into Henry’s house and calls the police. Henry shows them the carpet in his trunk, and there is no body.
Amy is kept in a cell but is released after Henry decides not to press charges. Amy puts her house up for sale and decides to move on. She moves into a little motel and looks up the website Henry used to book call girls. The girl comes to the motel, and Amy asks her questions. The sex worker admits that Henry hired her for a night, but nothing happened. Then he dared her to go outside while screaming in her underwear. She also tells Amy that Henry’s last name is Lombardi, and he has just gotten out of jail.
Amy tries to talk to the police, but they don’t listen. We do get to see a fabulous purse. So that is fun! Amy calls the realtor and learns Henry isn’t a homeowner… HE IS A RENTER!
Betsy is still lurking and peeping out the window. She is convinced that something isn’t right with Amy and Henry. Amy turns off all her lights and lures Henry to her house. Betsy watches the whole thing.
Amy hears someone in her house and heads downstairs to see what is happening. Her phone vibrates, and it is Henry calling from inside the house. He asks her if she knows who he is. Henry is Amy’s husband’s brother. Amy didn’t even know her husband had a brother.
Henry was driving the red car; he planted the news clipping and has been set on destroying Amy’s perfect little suburban life. Amy tells Henry that the police will find out who he is, so he better leave. Then she tries to run for it and grabs a knife. Henry tells her to kill him like she killed his brother. Betsy smashes Henry with her lamp and saves her friend.
Henry is taken into custody by the police. The neighbors apologize for not believing Amy. The end!
Side Note/Stray Thoughts
Haylie Duff has hit the ground running directing three TV movies this year. This was the strongest of the three with just some minor tonal inconsistencies. The cast and writing helped push this one over the finish line.
I really liked the leads in this movie. Very strong performances.
The ending caught me by surprise. I did not see a brother coming.
Numbers of Kills: 🔪 (1 knives)
Enjoyment Level (1-5 scale)
🍷🍷🍷 (3 Glasses of Wine)
Should you watch it?
Pour it up! (Give it a shot)
Put a Cork in It (Skip It)
What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments or on social media @LifetimeUncorked & @patrickmiguel
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