03rd Jun2020

‘Next Door Spy’ VOD Review

by Alain Elliott

Features the voices of: Simone Edemann Møgelbjerg, Dar Salim, Albert Rudbeck Lindhardt, Anne-Grethe Bjarup Riis, Tommy Kenter, Søs Egelind, Oliver Bøtcher, Kristine Sloth, Viggo Bengtson | Written and Directed by Karla von Bengtson

A spy movie for children might seem like an odd choice for me to review but I have watched and enjoyed several of the Spy Kid franchise films, so why not try some more?

Next Door Spy is an animated tale about ten year old Agathe-Christine (or AC) who has just moved into a new house and town with her family and wants to a small detective bureau in the basement. Her first case involves a boy who lives nearby and becomes a lot more complicated than she expected.

The animation is a different style to most mainstream animated movies. Maybe because of the low budget but the style used definitely fits with the type of film it is (It’s child-like in the best way possible) and the movies slight oddness. Although the movie is in full colour we do travel into the mind and dreams of AC at times, and when we do we suddenly get a brilliantly executed black and white noir style thriller. These are always action scenes with Agathe-Christine chasing down the villain. There a nice departure and a thankful quicken of the pace from the rest of the movie. Which isn’t slow (and the movie runs at less than eighty minutes) but does focus on the AC looking for clues or creating relationships with several other characters.

Next Door Spy is definitely made for children- probably aged between 9 and 15, so I have to take that into account when reviewing this as a 37-year old man. The mystery and spy elements of the movie would be much more exciting for a child, as would the eventual reveal. But that is not at all to say that it did not entertain me otherwise, because Next Door Spy is a really enjoyable and easy film to watch. If this hasn’t been made into a series of books or a planned franchise of movies, then I’d be surprised if it didn’t happen in the future.

The character Agathe-Christine is surprisingly likeable for a ten year old and strangely the mum of the household is by far the most annoying character on display. As an adult I should have been understanding her behaviour towards her children but actually I just sided with them.

I have mentioned that Next Door Spy is a slightly odd film and not just in its animation-style. This strangeness is perhaps what makes it stand-out from other similar movies and it’s what warms me to it a little more. And the strangest thing is quite something – Agathe-Christine’s pet lizard. That might not initially sound strange but it starts of like a regular-sized lizard and by the end of the movie and being fed a lot, is a giant human-sized lizard that is trying to eat her little brother! No clear explanation as to why but I’m glad there isn’t one!

If you have a young teenager and they are bored of the usual Pixar/Disney animated films them Next Door Spy might be worth a shot… That is if you’ve made them watch all the Studio Ghibili movies first! Embrace its oddness and hope for a sequel.

*** 3/5

Next Door Spy will be available to watch on InDemand, Amazon, iTunes, DirecTV, AT&T, FANDANGO, FlixFling and Vudu on June 16th.

Off

Comments are closed.