Producer Devlen has gotten a lot for his $100,000 budget version of Pacific Heights (which this predates by two years). Whilst there are the regular tell-tale signs of a low budget production (a crew member's hand can been seen at the foot of the frame at one point), the overall effect creates a reasonably polished production. The acting is mostly pretty good. The unusually named actor Rustam Branaman (!) as the suspicious neighbour either shares an uncanny resemblance to a young Mickey Rourke, the guy even has a lisp, or he is delivering an impressive tribute performance. Kane Picoy is also good as Eric's wise-cracking pal Josh. His character put to good use as the humorous dialogue helps carry the film through its sluggish periods.
There's also a brief wannabe Salvador Dali-esque dream sequence featuring floating telephones and crucifixion that looks like a homage to Dali's original in Hitchcock's Spellbound. The Upstairs Neighbour never takes itself too seriously and that helps emphasise the fleeting, darker moments. While not especially stunning nor exciting, it nevertheless effectively plays with the paranoia of its main character and its audience to deliver enough for its limited origins. 6/10
Rob Dyer (December 2001)
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