The Good Neighbor (2016) Movie Review with Ending Explained


The Review (Spoiler Free)

“The Good Neighbor” is a film that delves into the depths of human curiosity, the consequences of deception, and the unexpected realities of isolation. Directed by Kasra Farahani, this psychological thriller presents a unique blend of suspense, drama, and moral questioning that keeps viewers engaged from start to finish.

The plot revolves around two high school students, Ethan (played by Logan Miller) and Sean (played by Keir Gilchrist), who decide to conduct an experiment on their reclusive neighbor, Harold Grainey (portrayed by James Caan). Their goal is to create the illusion of a haunting in Grainey’s house while capturing his reactions through surveillance cameras. However, as their plan unfolds, they discover far more about their neighbor and themselves than they had bargained for.

The film’s strength lies in its ability to maintain tension and suspense throughout its duration. The audience is kept on edge, anticipating the consequences of the boys’ actions and the revelations that follow. The narrative is cleverly constructed, with twists and turns that challenge viewers’ perceptions and expectations.

James Caan delivers a compelling performance as Harold Grainey, bringing depth and complexity to a character that could easily have been one-dimensional. The dynamic between Caan and the younger actors is particularly noteworthy, as it highlights the generational divide and differing perspectives on life and morality.

Critics have had mixed reactions to the film, with some praising its originality and execution, while others find it lacking in certain areas. According to Metacritic, the film received a generally unfavorable score based on critic reviews, but a more favorable response from users. IMDb ratings reflect a similar sentiment, with a moderate score that suggests a divide in audience reception.

Despite the mixed reviews, “The Good Neighbor” succeeds in raising thought-provoking questions about the nature of privacy, the ethics of surveillance, and the unforeseen impact of seemingly harmless pranks. It is a film that encourages viewers to reflect on the boundaries of curiosity and the hidden layers of those we perceive as ‘other.’

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.

In the Nutshell

“The Good Neighbor” is a film that may not cater to all tastes but offers a gripping experience for those interested in psychological thrillers that probe deeper into the human psyche. It is a reminder of the thin line between innocent curiosity and harmful intrusion, and the importance of empathy in understanding the lives of those around us. Whether you’re a fan of the genre or simply looking for a film that provides both entertainment and substance, “The Good Neighbor” is worth a watch. [5 out of 5 stars.]

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Genre: Suspense Thriller

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