The Good Neighbor is a mystery wrapped up in horror, which surprises in many ways – all of them good!
With a movie like The Good Neighbor, you get both horror, mystery and a court room drama. This is all right there in the trailer, so it should come as no surprise. What you’ll also get is a coming of age story, people going way too far with their jokes (or experiments) and some real heartbreak. The story unfolds as POV when we’re following the two teenagers, Ethan (Logan Miller) and Sean (Keir Gilchrist), but otherwise it’s shot as a “regular” movie.
Personally, I love that The Good Neighbor uses all the great advantages of POV, which is a raw and very realitistic portrayal of the young men. And still, the movie isn’t a POV concept movie, so we get the best of both worlds. A story that can unfold and show us – very literally – that there are indeed always two sides to every story. Or, as it’s the case with The Good Neighbor, much more than meets the eye.
Intentions aren’t really what they seem, and reactions can be misinterpreted unless you know the person, you’re trying to read. Sure, Harold Grainey (James Caan) seems like an angry and bitter old man, but surely there’s more to him. We should all have learned this lesson with Home Alone. Then again, this is no Christmas family movie. It is very much a horror movie that works as a thriller in the way the story unfolds.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect since I hadn’t heard much about The Good Neighbor, but in part this is due to the title change (original title was The Waiting). Also, the simple reason that when it premiered at SXSW, a lot of other movies ran with all the hype. In particular Don’t Breathe, which also features an older man living alone and some younger people going into his house. I have yet to watch Don’t Breathe, but it has to be pretty extraordinary if it took away attention from this movie. Or maybe it’s just pure coincidence?
The many advantages of having both great actors and a great story!
Usually, horror movies can have a pretty amazing story that runs away with all the hype or it can have some awesome actors. Or rather, some amazing characters that are portrayed by great actors. In The Good Neighbor, we get both a very fascinating story unfolding, and some great characters driving the plot forward. Of course, this also means nothing would work without the right cast, but The Good Neighbor has some perfect casting going for it. And yes, James Caan really does steal the scene completely, whenever he’s on. No doubt about that. The man is brilliant! Also, he’s pretty damn scary.
But even with an amazing actor like Caan, both Logan Miller (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) and Keir Gilchrist (It Follows) can easily hold their own. A lot of their scenes feature just the two of them, and they play amazingly well across from each other. Also, there’s some great supporting actors like Edwin Hodge (The Purge trilogy), Laura Innes (ER) and Bailey Noble (Martyrs, True Blood).
This is the feature film debut for director Kasra Farahani, which is very impressive. That’s why I was very thrilled to see his next movie Tilt is already in post-production and should be out next year. The script for The Good Neighbor was written by Jeff Richards and Mark Bianculli, and marks the feature film debut for both of them.
As previously stated, the movie originally premiered at SXSW Film Festival in March 2016 under the title The Waiting but in August 2016, a new trailer and poster was revealed along with the title change. Both titles work really well,but this new title put the focus on James Caan’s character, which certainly isn’t a bad thing, because he is truly amazing in this movie.
The Good Neighbor will be out in US theaters on September 16, 2016.
Director: Kasra Farahani
Writer: Mark Bianculli, Jeff Richard
Cast: James Caan, Logan Miller, Keir Gilchrist
A pair of high school kids try to trick a neighbor into thinking a house is haunted, but their intended victim turns out to be far more dangerous than they imagined.