Lakeview Terrace

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Lakeview Terrace is a 2008 American crime and thriller movie.[1] The movie's title is a reference for a racially and ethnically-combined middle class Lake View Terrace neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Plot[change | change source]

As a mixed race married couple, Chris and Lisa move themselves into a Los Angeles home. Shortly after that, however, the next-door neighbor, Abel Turner, who works with the Los Angeles Police Department, begins starting violent racial fights and arguments with Chris. Abel later starts making inappropriate comments on Chris' smoking and listening to hip hop music. As part of Abel's racist pattern of behavior, he also makes serious remarks about the ethnicity in his mixed race relationship to Lisa.

The following evening, Chris and Lisa have sex in the swimming pool near the house. Without the couple knowing, Abel's children, Marcus and Celia, look at the couple while they have sex. Abel then arrives to his home. He sees Chris and Lisa engaging in sex. Abel then becomes furious and angry. He then sets his home's security floodlights to shine into Chris' and Lisa's window, keeping them awake. Abel begins suggesting toward Chris that he doesn't like his (Chris') mixed-race marriage. He (Abel) wants the couple to move from their new neighborhood.

One evening, Chris and Lisa hear noises from the downstairs of the home. They discover the tires on Chris' car slashed. The couple suspect Abel and contact Los Angeles police. The cops, however, cannot do anything because of Abel's status within the Los Angeles Police Department. Chris fights back by shining his own security floodlights into Abel's bedroom.

Lisa's pregnancy[change | change source]

Lisa begins showing she is pregnant. This causes arguments between Lisa and her husband Chris. That's because Chris is not prepared for having children. Meanwhile, Abel is suspended without pay following his abuse against a suspect. That causes Abel to become even more furious. Abel continues harassing the couple with his hosting of a loud bachelor party. In the party, Abel subjects Chris to sexual harassment by a nightclub stripper. Chris later plants trees along the fence between the couple's and Abel's properties. That causes a near-violent altercation between Chris and Abel. The latter is against having trees hanging over his property. When Chris goes to a Los Angeles bar, Abel then enters. The latter begins informing Chris that his (Abel's) own wife was killed during a traffic accident while having an affair with a white male employer. Abel then says that's the reason he does not trust white men. That is also his reason for him being against mixed-race relationships.

Abel sends his informant, Clarence Darlington, to trash the couple's home in yet another effort of forcing them out. Lisa arrives home early and surprises the informant. They fight. Lisa is knocked out, though not before she triggers the alarm. Chris rushes home. He is followed by a frustrated Abel. When the latter comes upon his hired informant, he (Abel) shoots the informant dead to keep him quite. Lisa is rushed to the hospital. She is okay.

During wildfires[change | change source]

Wildfires are taking place in the surrounding hills. Local people are warned to leave their homes. Abel, who remains behind, enters Chris' and Lisa's house. He (Abel) hopes to retrieve Clarence's cell phone, fearing the phone will make him appear guilty. Chris and Lisa suddenly return home from the hospital before Abel finds the phone. While the couple pack up before leaving the residence, Chris discovers the cell phone. He calls the last number diales. Chris then learns Abel was responsible for the break-in. Abel learns that Chris has found the cell phone.

Fight[change | change source]

Abel goes over with his gun drawn. He and Chris fight between each other. Before Lisa can leave the area, Abel shoots her car. The gun hit causes Lisa to crash into a parked car. After pistol whipping Abel and knocking him out, Chris tries to free Lisa from the vehicle. But then, Abel fires his gun towards Chris. He (Abel) misses. Chris holds Abel's other gun at him and tells him to stay back. Los Angeles County sheriff officers reach the area. The police demand Chris drop his gun. They order Abel to not move any further. Chris' wife Lisa begs for him to comply with orders. Abel tells Chris to listen to her. Chris then says Abel should have listened to his wife and asks if he saw the wife's betrayal coming. Chris then states that Abel's aggression drove her into cheating on him. Abel then becomes furious, takes out his hidden gun and shoots Chris in his shoulder.

Cast[change | change source]

Reception[change | change source]

Critical response[change | change source]

Lakeview Terrace was rated 44% on the Rotten Tomatoes website.[2] The critical consensus from the site read: "This thriller about a menacing cop wreaking havoc on his neighbors is tense enough but threatens absurdity when it enters into excessive potboiler territory." On the Metacritic, the movie had an average score near 47 out of 100. That meant "mixed or average reviews."[3]

Roger Ebert's review[change | change source]

Roger Ebert from the Chicago Sun-Times gave the movie a strong and positive review. He awarded it his highest rating of four stars. Ebert then said: "Some will find it exciting. Some will find it an opportunity for an examination of conscience. Some will leave feeling vaguely uneasy. Some won't like it and will be absolutely sure why they don't, but their reasons will not agree. Some will hate elements that others can't even see. Some will only see a thriller. I find movies like this alive and provoking, and I'm exhilarated to have my thinking challenged at every step of the way."[4]

Mick LaSalle's review[change | change source]

Mick LaSalle from the San Francisco Chronicle also liked Lakeview Terrace. LaSalle said: "In its overall shape and message, Lakeview Terrace is a conventional suspense thriller, but the details kick it up a notch. ... The fun of Lakeview Terrace is not in what happens but in how it happens."[5] J.R. Jones of the Chicago Reader said Lakeview Terrace was: "one of the toughest racial dramas to come out of Hollywood since the fires died down – much tougher, for instance, than Paul Haggis's hand-wringing Oscar winner Crash."[6]

The box office[change | change source]

The movie had a $20 million budget. It made about $44.7 million, around $39.2 million within the United States alone.[7]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Lakeview Terrace". All Movie. Retrieved August 2, 2021.
  2. "Lakeview Terrace". Rotten Tomatoes' Reviews. Retrieved August 2, 2021.
  3. "The Lakeview Terrace Reviews". The Metacritic. Retrieved August 2, 2021.
  4. Lakeview Terrace review Archived 2012-09-26 at the Wayback Machine, Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, September 18, 2008
  5. Lakeview Terrace review, Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle,
  6. Lakeview Terrace review Archived September 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader
  7. "Weekend Box Office Results from 9/19 to 9/21". Box Office Mojo. September 21, 2008. Retrieved November 26, 2008.