Two teenagers, Ethan and Sean, take on a butterfly-effect type of social experiment. They pick on Ethan’s bitter old neighbor, Harold Grainey, and raid his house with hidden cameras and devices to control his electricity. The six-week mission is to create the illusion of a haunting and record Grainey’s behavioral change over time. Ethan and Sean are able to put cameras everywhere but Grainey’s locked basement. As the experiment draws closer to an end, Ethan grows more obsessed with Grainey and his basement where he spends long hours. But what this “old, miserable, wife beating, dog killing, drunk sack of shit” hides in his basement is a lot more than Ethan bargained for. The Good Neighbor (also known as The Waiting), is a flawless psychological thriller that keeps its audience guessing while simultaneously placing them on the edge of their seats.
Director Kasra Farahani has worked in the art department for some huge titles in the past, but this is his first time at the helm of a feature length film. What I loved about the approach he takes is that even though this movie is fifty percent “found footage”, there are no nauseating, shaky handheld camera scenes. Similarly, this is also writers, Mark Bianculli and Jeff Richard, first work in the feature length realm, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. The writing is organic and believable. They do an excellent job of building the characters without taking an excessive amount of time. Of course, that has a lot to do the cast and how they deliver the role as well.
Speaking of the cast, James Caan is without a doubt the star of the show. He plays the creepy neighbor perfectly. He delivers his lines and sets the tone of his character without even trying. As for the rest of the cast, they all represent their characters equally well. Ethan and Sean have opposite spectrum personalities. The writers do an incredible job at sculpting these characters and their differences. The actors, Logan Miller (Ethan) and Keir Gilchrist (Sean), do a great job bringing these boys to life.
Accompanying the directing, writing, and acting, is an amazing story line. This is the type of movie where the main character’s mental stability is questionable, and the writers do a truly masterful job of releasing just the right amount of information at just the right time. Some might call it slow, but that works when a film’s stagnant nature is used to build tension and suspense. This is an extremely powerful film that I absolutely recommend to anyone. The trailer can be a bit misleading, so let me tell you first hand: don’t set yourself up for a horror film, go in expecting a fantastic psychological thriller–because that’s exactly what you’ll get.
The Good Neighbor hits VOD September 16th.
The Good Neighbor [Review]