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Lakeview Terrace (2008)


Average Rating: 5.5/10
Reviews Counted: 161
Fresh: 73
Rotten: 88

Critics Consensus: This thriller about a menacing cop wreaking havoc on his neighbors is tense enough but threatens absurdity when it enters into excessive potboiler territory.

Average Rating: 5.5/10
Reviews Counted: 41
Fresh: 20
Rotten: 21

Critics Consensus: This thriller about a menacing cop wreaking havoc on his neighbors is tense enough but threatens absurdity when it enters into excessive potboiler territory.


Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 138,606


Movie Info

An interracial couple moves into their California dream home, only to find themselves the target of their volatile next-door neighbor -- a racist LAPD officer -- in this tightly wound thriller starring Samuel L. Jackson and Kerry Washington. Newlyweds Chris and Lisa seem like they have the perfect marriage and now, with their new home in the exclusive community Lakeview Terrace, the perfect life as well, but things soon turn ugly in the posh neighborhood when they begin to receive threats from … More

PG-13 (for intense thematic material, violence, sexuality, language and some drug references)
Mystery & Suspense , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
David Loughery , Howard Korder
In Theaters:
Jan 27, 2009
Box Office:
Sony Pictures/Screen Gems - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Lakeview Terrace

All Critics (167) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (73) | Rotten (88) | DVD (15)

The yawning chasm between the film's aspirations to social significance and its cheese-o-licious straight-to-video construction make it a chucklesome guilty pleasure.

December 5, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

The movie is directed by Neil LaBute, whose history suggests he's comfortable making his audience just uncomfortable enough to make a lasting impression.

Full Review… | November 7, 2008
At the Movies
Top Critic

I found it scary at times and I was tense and I was on the edge of my seat, , but ultimately it did spiral out of control and get a little ridiculous.

Full Review… | November 7, 2008
At the Movies
Top Critic

The actors make it watchable, but with these incendiary themes, 'watchable' isn't exactly a wildfire.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Lakeview Terrace is a serviceable enough popcorn exercise in a few floundering Angelenos who can't just get along.

Full Review… | September 19, 2008
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Isn't much fun either as social commentary or procedural guignol.

Full Review… | August 15, 2011
East Bay Express

Lakeview Terrace isn't anywhere as wacky as LaBute's Wicker Man remake, yet the two reveal an artist too caught up with his misanthropic conceits to notice the ridiculous humor in them.

Full Review… | August 26, 2009

This angry black man wants a 'chocolate drop' of his own -- yes, 'chocolate drop' is actually used in this film! However, it's such a weak movie that you won't get offended.

Full Review… | July 3, 2009

It's ironic when the tactics it uses to ratchet up the suspense actually reduces the very real tension that gets communicated in its first half.

Full Review… | February 12, 2009
Window to the Movies

As a thriller, it's passable, but at what point do we say to director Neil LaBute, "Enough already with the misogynistic themes"?

Full Review… | January 21, 2009
Apollo Guide

The race-baiting thriller Lakeview Terrace is exactly what you would expect from a screenplay by a Hollywood hack and an established playwright: some sharp dialogue grafted onto a credibility-stretching and familiar plot. [Blu-ray]

Full Review… | January 20, 2009
Groucho Reviews

Lakeview Terrace is not a hit by any means, but it is a lot better than Jackson's last film Snakes on a Plane and much improved for director Neil LaBute, known for his previous work on The Wicker Man.

Full Review… | January 4, 2009
Entertainment Spectrum

...should satisfy fans of "(fill in the blank) from hell" thrillers.

Full Review… | December 14, 2008
Reel Film Reviews

As a thriller it's solid three-star tension. As a Samuel L. Jackson showcase it proves a man can only coast through so many motherfuckin' or milquetoastin' turns before having to display his full and overpowering talent.

Full Review… | December 5, 2008
Empire Magazine

A potboiler with pretensions that's never really at the races.

Full Review… | December 5, 2008

It's a terrifically unstable performance that is admirably matched by the exasperated victims. The ending is too allegorical for its own health, but this is intelligent cinema.

Full Review… | December 5, 2008
Times [UK]

From certain angles, Lakeview Terrace may look neurotic or even reactionary, but I found it bracingly tactless, particularly because interracial couples are still something of a taboo in modern Hollywood.

Full Review… | December 5, 2008

Yet despite the crudeness that finally overtakes Lakeview Terrace, it may be a more accurate representation of racial attitudes in Los Angeles than many inhabitants would care to admit.

Full Review… | December 5, 2008
Daily Telegraph

After multiplex clinkers like Jumper and Cleaner, Lakeview Terrace does give Jackson somewhere to move that actually brings the house down.

Full Review… | December 5, 2008
Sky Movies

Lacking even a Changing Lanes level of insight into America's racial partition, this old-school, domestic-invasion thriller still has Samuel L Jackson's twisted enforcer to push the right buttons.

Full Review… | December 5, 2008
Total Film

Watching this film is like stretching a spring and then letting it go again... and again... gripping and utterly absorbing.

Full Review… | December 5, 2008
Heart 106.2

Having an angry Samuel L Jackson as your nasty neighbour would be anybody's idea of bad news. Tense and terrifying, this is a smart thriller.

Full Review… | December 5, 2008
Daily Mirror [UK]

It's uncomfortable viewing.

Full Review… | December 5, 2008
Sun Online

But this cop, played with wicked finesse by Jackson while the script allows, deserves the chance to strut his hour in the smoke-free sun.

Full Review… | December 5, 2008
Financial Times

Audience Reviews for Lakeview Terrace

Lakeview Terrace tries to show a different side to racism than most are used to by having a black man persecute a white neighbour. It fails spectacularly. Not only does the film show our black man (Samuel L Jackson) as having white friends, but it somehow suggests that the only way to prove a white man ( Patrick Wilson in this case) isn't racist is by having him marry a black woman. What the film does suggest is that the LAPD is corrupt and full of very nasty individuals, and that people of all colours and creeds should unite against the Police force of the United States of America. There are some good cops however, they save the day right at the end. They're all white though. Doh! Made by the people that brought you the Wicker Man remake, need I say more?

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer


'Lakeview Terrace' is a worthwhile but flawed thriller about racial politics played out in an idyllic multi-cultural LA bedroom community. It's like a chamber version of Paul Haggis' Crash, with a more focused, smaller scale story. I rented it due to my admiration for director Neil LaBute's dark writing skills both on stage and screen. Though he did not write this one, it did reflect his questioning and often perverse take on human relationships.

Interracial couple Kerry Washington and Patrick Wilson move into to a mixed and apparently tension free subdivision, their nearest neighbor is a widowed LA patrol cop and his two teens. That cop, Abel Turner (Samuel L. Jackson), anchors the film in a typically galvanic and menacing performance. He does not approve of the races mixing (for hidden reasons of his own, I won't go to spoiler alert) and surreptitiously does everything he can to terrorize them and undermine their relationship. Jackson will literally do anything, regardless of morality to mess up the lives of this couple.

Wilson and Washington play more complex and less 'goody two shoes' characters than you would expect in more cliched film. Their marriage is presented as having cracks before they arrived in the neighborhood, caused by a combination of character differences and the corrosive effects of society's lack of acceptance of their marriage. Neither actor plays sweet ingenue roles, which is to the film's credit.

Yet, because of the above point, I didn't care whether this couple stayed together or broke up and that is an almost fatal flaw. Hence, we have much less to root for in the course of the film and as a result, the first hour of set up is much more interesting than the last hour of denouement, where the film breaks down in gratuitous action and mayhem scenes, particularly in the gun blazing climax.

Jackson's a mesmerizing presence and plays a very dark and unusual character. Still, I was never convinced or understood his reverse racism, even though it's explained with a lame plot detail at the end concerning his late wife. Look for a nice turn by Regina Nehy as Jackson's intelligent and questioning teen daughter, she does very lovely work here.

In some ways LT works better than its sister movie 'Crash' since it has less ambition and more narrowly focused. However, after hour one it bogs down in unconvincing plot points and gratuitous complications involving crazy and unbelievable scheming on the part of Abel. The film is workmanlike in its technical aspects and is very well paced. It's worth a rental on a rainy or snowy night.

Josh Morris
Josh Morris

Super Reviewer

A very well made and well paced thriller that has Samuel L. Jackson giving his all as the racial next door neighbour. The tension that builds up throughout the film goes to the extreme and back, giving you a sense of fear. There are many foreshadows to enjoy and great moments of backstory that really makes you feel for the characters before you reach the intense conclusion. "Lakeview Terrace" has everything you could ask for from a thriller, and more. I feel that this is a very underrated film for many reasons. It's great entertainment!

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer


Really well acted flick, everyone is really good in their roles and makes the film very believeable and worth while. Jackson is very good as a racist cop and pretty eerie too, you never know quite what he's gonna do. The whole look and feel of the film is good too, the hot summer, sweaty atmosphere, tension between the neighbours etc....
I did expect alittle more action on the racist front hehe or some really heated verbal maybe but it didn't quite materialise, still good though, not over done and with a good ending.

You know this kind of thing happens all over the place and all the time which makes it very interesting and easy to relate too which in turn makes the film very powerful.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

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