An admirable indie effort for what appears to be a no-budget movie, You Belong to Me plays off the paranoia of the crowded urban landscape. Have you ever wondered how people can be lonely in a big city? Or how folks can die in a packed apartment building, but no one will discover them for days?
Jeffrey (Daniel Sauli) shares an apartment in the big city with his best friend Nicki (Heather Simms). However, things are too close for comfort one too many times when she busts in on him getting busy with his latest fling, a hottie name Rene (Julien Lucas). Rene stomps out, that’s it, it’s over. Jeffrey also stomps out, deciding maybe it is time to get a place of his own. He comes about this in a strange way. He sees Rene on the street canoodling with another man, covertly follows him home (where Jeffrey was never invited), and sees a For Rent sign on the building. More than a little stalker-ish, if you ask me. But Rene doesn’t turn out to be the problem (despite his shock at seeing his ex in the hallway, cheerfully saying, “Hi, neighbor!”
The odd cookie in this mix is the overly friendly landlady Gladys (Patti D’Arbanville). Oh, how Gladys loves Jeffrey, her new tenant. Oh, how handy he is, fixing up the old place and making it shine! Oh, how is reminds her of her own son! When Nikki stops by to see Jeffrey in his new place, she is a little alarmed to see him being spoon fed dinner by his new landlord. Ahem, indeed.
From there, it seems that Jeffrey is the last person to think that something is dreadfully wrong with the scenario, even when he starts to hear tortured moaning under his floorboards, in the general vicinity of his landlady’s flat. Needless to say, when he starts to get curious, he is in for a surprise.
You Belong to Me is full of surprising twists, like any claustrophobic thriller. Just when I think it is going to be predictable, it offer up a plot turn that I didn’t expect. Patti D’Arbanville easily steals the show as Gladys (the actor playing Jeffrey is basically the straight man, aka a little bland), and she manages to reign in the “crazy landlady” schtick, even when it is obvious she could have gone completely overboard. She make Gladys a very real threat. This lady could really live next door. But if she knocks on my door and offers to spoon-feed me a fully-cooked dinner, I might get a little wary.