The Good Neighbor Review
Wow this movie! This movie is fantastic, from the cinematography to the acting to the storyline it all drew me in and made me think for far too long ‘wait, is this actually real?’ and then the twist at the end! All I can say is go watch it, then return to this review, because we need to talk about it!
The Good Neighbor follows two boys Ethan and Sean who want to do an experiment on their ‘evil’ neighbour Harold Grainey. What their plan is, is to set up hidden cameras and trip wires etc. in his home and make him believe it is haunted to see his reaction. But there is much more to this tale as Mr Grainey is often seen spending hours in his basement and reacts weirdly to the noises being produced by the two boys in their setups. They believe there’s something more sinister at play here and want to find out the truth.
As the story unfolds it is clear that Ethan has ulterior motives to what he is doing to his neighbour. It turns out Mr Grainey was the man who his mother turned to when she was going through a rough patch with her husband so Ethan sees him as the man that broke up his family (even though this is not true and is just a child’s mind coming to conclusions).
In the climax of the film Ethan finally enters Mr Grainey’s basement with Sean watching eagerly back home. Ethan uncovers old photographs and a bell that Mr Grainey has laid out on a table down there.
It turns out these pictures are of his late wife and the bell was what she used when she was coming to the end of her life thanks to cancer. She did not have the energy to call him so would instead ring this bell. It’s quite a sad tale of a man losing the only person that really mattered in his life and something these boys simply don’t understand.
Ethan accidentally rings the bell waking Mr Grainey. He returns upstairs where he places the bell on a table and hides. Mr Grainey emerges and on seeing the bell grabs a gun, it’s a very intense scene made only more shocking when Mr Grainey raises the gun and shoots himself mere feet from Ethan. I literally gasped out loud at this moment because it completely took me by surprise.
Throughout the movie we are shown moments where the two boys are in court and it all comes clear that they are being tried for basically manslaughter. It turns out that Mr Grainey wasn’t a horrible old man but rather a man full of grief at the loss of his wife and with the final straw being her bell he realises he cannot go on any longer.
This is a very sad tale of teen curiosity and abuse of an elderly man. A man who had done nothing wrong but had been put into a bad light because of his grumpy demeanor and the fact he helped Ethan’s mum break up their family (for the best though).
It also shows us that we never know what’s going on behind closed doors. What we think we may see may not be what it truly is and really it’s best just to leave people alone and not mess with them. It’s an extreme case but the fact these boys continued pushing and pushing until this man killed himself is horrible.
Sometimes it’s best to let the past stay in the past and leave people alone. Or if you can try and offer a helping hand or a smile. It seemed Mr Grainey chose to live in isolation and prefered it that way and if these boys hadn’t done what they did he’d still be here (yes I know it’s a movie but still).
It’s a fantastic movie with a lot of build up and a great pay off. It’s sad as well as an audience member even I wondered who he was keeping in the basement rather than just assuming it was nothing. All a learning curve. Not all grumpy old people are monsters.
What did you think of The Good Neighbor?
Until next time.