Friday, 8 December 2017

The Good Neighbor (2016)

You haven't seen this. You need to.

The Good Neighbor


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.


Trigger Warning
Review contains words like powerhouse, and masterpiece.

This is a masterpiece of tension, mis-direction, character building, and OMG moments.

There, I said it.

The premise of The Good Neighbor is simple: How does someone behave when they think they're being haunted? After that, it's hard to say much about the actual plot of the film without running so deep into spoiler territory, it would wreck the magnificent, heart-wrenching finale of this amazing piece of work.

The film centers on three characters - the "mischievous high school kids" and the neighbor - Caan - a reclusive, ill-tempered, and violent, possible sociopath. Perhaps psychopath.

So let's focus on the acting for a moment. The two young leads are portrayed by Logan Miller (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) and Keir Gilchrist (It Follows). Both are decent actors, and both create their characters well, by which I mean they give their deeply flawed personas life. They are initially perceived as inherently good people, with an ill conceived idea. Then as more is revealed the realization that all is not as it seems comes to the front. Some of this is, of course down to a craftly written script (Mark Bianculli and Jeff Richard) and the excellent direction of Kasra Farahani (best known as Art Director on movies such as Star Trek Into Darkness and Thor). But I want to take a moment to mention James Caan.

James Caan (left)

Caan lays down a powerhouse performance in what should be a b-grade low budget thriller. As I said, he gets great support from the rest of the cast, but Caan has without doubt been in a slump, or under a shadow for years now. When we think of great Caan performances what comes to mind? Sicilian Vampire? Preggoland? Or The Godfather Part II? Rollerball? They came out over 40 years ago. They're older than me. His performance here secures that he still has it.

And that is why you have to see this.

James Caan is still one of the finest actors working today.

Anyway, the film grinds tension throughout. It plays with the expectation of the viewer and twists throughout. Part thriller, part horror in places, even with some found footage vibe going on, this is a taut movie, with a massive pay off at the end. Utterly amazing.

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