Lakeview Terrace (2008)

lakeview terrace poster 2008 movie samuel l jackson
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 5/10

Interesting ideas, Jackson is strong, likable, and scary

Movie devolves into a mess for the last act of the film

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Lakeview Terrace

Studio:  Overbrook Entertainment

Genre(s):  Drama/Suspense/Mystery

Release Date(s):  September 19, 2009

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


It is kind of like Mrs. Kravitz from Bewitched…with a gun

Lisa and Chris Mattson (Kerry Washington and Patrick Wilson) have bought the home of their dreams.  Unfortunately, the young couple has moved in next door to police officer Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson) who doesn’t approve of their interracial relationship.  As Turner works his way into their lives, the stakes begin to get higher and higher and eventually one side will have to give…and it could be deadly.

Directed by Neil LaBute, Lakeview Terrace is a dramatic thriller.  The movie was released to mostly positive reviews and was loosely based on the harassment of a couple from Altadena, California in 2002.

Neil LaBute is a tricky director whose films are rather polarizing.  I liked his early films like In the Company of Men, Your Friends and Neighbors, and Nurse Betty but his remake of the The Wicker Man was one of the worst films ever.  Lakeview Terrace falls somewhere in between.


The joys of home ownership…repairs and psychotic neighbors

The sad part of Lakeview Terrace is that I did like a lot of the movie.  I thought it was an interesting look at racism and instead of simply making Jackson a completely unlikable guy, the movie gave him depth and the idea of wanting a better life for his children is admirable.  Unfortunately, the movie kind of devolves into a mess with a sappy back story of a cheating wife with a white boss and an ending which is pretty sloppy.  I also don’t really understand why the people tolerated Jackson as much as they did.

This is one of Jackson’s better movies.  For the movie he needs to be scary, but also able to turn on the charm.  It is similar to his Pulp Fiction character in this sense, but Jackson plays it up.  The movie tries to give Kerry Washington and Patrick Wilson a realistic relationship, but sometimes it dips too heavily into the race roles and gets a little preachy…otherwise, they do make a nice couple.


Well this movie is melting down…might as well start shooting at people

The movie is pretty standard looking.  The Lakeview Terrace setting in Los Angeles was actually shot in Walnut, California.  With an increase in wildfires and more footage of them, the ending just doesn’t quite have the intensity needed for the movie…and plotwise it already feels pretty forced by then (plus I wish I could have a “starter home” like that).

Lakeview Terrace is a movie that demonstrates how an interesting themed movie can be completely derailed through a weak ending.  The movie has some good points, but it just loses direction for an anticlimactic conclusion that is too easy and not up to the level of the story attempted.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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