The first half, at least, transcends the potboiler set-up to pose provocative questions about race relations. But the climax degenerates into overkill.
On the face of it LaBute's latest is a throwback to the yuppie-in-peril thriller - when young married couples were routinely terrorised by manic, knife-wielding exes, bosses, and next-door neighbours. In this case the newlyweds are the attractive interracial couple Chris and Lisa (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington). Moving into their new suburban LA home, they are greeted by Abel Turner (Samuel L Jackson), an angry widower who takes an instant dislike to Chris, and whose security lights flood their bedroom every night. Worse still, Abel is a police officer, and not a man to be crossed. Although LaBute doesn't have a writing credit here he seems more invested in this material than in his own script for The Wicker Man. The first half, at least, transcends the potboiler set-up to pose provocative questions about race relations in the US. It's telling, for instance, that Abel is the bigot here - and it's not just Chris's colour that he objects to, it's his whole permissive, liberal lifestyle. The climax degenerates into overkill, but the build-up is tense and atmospheric, with high-calibre performances and some sharp writing.