The Good Neighbor isn’t a horror film but it is a surprisingly entertaining suspense thriller.
A pair of mischievous high school kids create the illusion of a haunting on an unsuspecting elderly neighbor while keeping his every reaction under surveillance. A series of coincidences leads to tragedy.
The Review (Spoiler Free)
First of all, The Good Neighbor isn’t a horror film. But it is very well made and original suspense thriller which is worth talking about. This film is a prime example of what the standard should be even if it’s a lower-budget production. The Good Neighbor has both drama and suspense. At its core, the film is a crime-thriller. The Good Neighbor have skillful writing, directing, acting and editing. They are extraordinarily sophisticated in style and will exceed most viewers initial expectations.
The movie starts as a paranormal prank by two teens in the name of social experiment. They broke into this old man’s house and rig it to make him think that his house is haunted. Initially, we don’t know much about this old man played by James Caan. We just assumed that he is just a grumpy mean old man. Soon they realized that this old man is a rather unusual subject. He has a basement securely locked from the outside, a mysterious visiting woman, no apparent fear towards the extreme tactics they make to convince him he’s haunted, and he’s unpredictability violent and destructive.
Obviously, at the end of the movie, everything goes wrong. Last few minuets of the movie is very suspenseful and keep in the edge of your seat. It was interesting how they starts to cut in to court trial scene of this two young man in the middle of the movie which foreshadows what is to come.
The ending is very powerful as the movie slowly reveals this old man’s past. It is worth watching through the movie just to find out what happens at the end.
Ending Explained (Spoiler Warning!)
In the beginning of the movie, we don’t know too much about the old man, Harold Grainey. It appears that he is just an grumpy and angry old man. But as we get to know more about Harold, he is far from it.
It appears that all the paranormal pranks didn’t really effect him at all, but it turned out every paranormal pranks were effecting him. It reminded of his dead wife. As the movie progress, we see many flashback of Harold’s relationship with his wife. We are finding out that he really loved his wife. But when his wife died from cancer, it really took him very hard. Eventually, he started to think that ghost of his dead wife is trying to contact him. This is reason why he spend lots of time in the basement where all of her belongings were.
What finally cracked him was the bell. The teens were very curious why he spend so much time in his basement. So one day, one of the teen broke into the house and decided to investigate his basement. There he found a bell. When he rang the bell by accident, Harold must heard it from the other room. The bell has significant meaning to Harold because this is the bell that he gave to his wife when she was fighting cancer. He told his wife to ring the bell when she needs something from him. So when Harold heard the bell, he was convince that the ghost of wife was calling him to join her in the heaven. That is why Harold decided to take his life and join his wife in afterlife.
I didn’t really think that all the court trial part at the end of the movie plays any significant part of the movie. At the end, the moral of the story is that don’t judge book by its cover. And it serves as a reminder to us all that we all live in our own perceptions of reality.
The Good Neighbor isn’t a horror film but it is a surprisingly good suspense thriller that I highly recommend. [5 out of 5 stars.]
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Genre: Suspense Thriller
Rotten Tomato Rating: 29% / 45%
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