I have always loved watching actor James Caan and mainly because he continues to surprise me. This week is no exception when director Kasra Farahani and Vertical Entertainment tell the story of THE GOOD NEIGHBOR.
It is clear that Ethan (Logan Miller) and Sean (Keir Gilchrist) are two young boys who have too much time on their hands. Deciding to create a social experiment of sorts, their ‘creepy’ neighbor Harold Grainey (James Caan) is the target.
Setting up cameras around the neighbor’s house, the two become suspicious when Grainey spends hours upon hours in the basement. That’s when the boys get the idea that he has something to hide. Believing there is a body in the basement they call Officer Palmer (Edwin Hodge) who begrudgingly investigates.
Mom Elise (Anne Dudek) is trying to keep their house afloat working long hours. That gives Ethan and Sean plenty of time to investigate the neighbor. Things begin to get out of hand as the boys get into a scuffle about trust and how far is too far.
It only takes a moment for things to take a turn and when you’re doing something wrong in the first place, things always take a turn for the worst!
Caan as Grainey is quite scary actually. There is a quiet alarm that went off watching his performance and mainly because I’ve never seen Caan in a thriller like this. He gives his character secrets that, in reality, are no one else’s business – let alone two bored teens. I didn’t know whether to be suspicious of him or sad and that’s what makes this a good character!
Miller as Ethan is a prime example of a smart kid doing stupid things. It is clear from the beginning the boys know it is wrong yet spend the film convincing each other it’s right. Of course Gilchrist as Sean is equally responsible for everything that happens the entire story.
Other cast include Bailey Noble as Carly, Lili Reinhart as Ashley, Mindy Sterling as Mae, Nik Dodani as Sanjay, Tamlyn Tomita as Heather Cromwell, Dean Cameron as the Defense Attorney, William Mitchell as the Judge and Laura Innes as Caroline.
This is one of those films that is difficult to go into character detail because seriously, I didn’t see much of it coming and that is such an awesome thing. There are twists, turns, ups, downs, suspicions, fact, and boys-being-boys-being-stupid. In all of it Caan steals the show and the boys let him!
I must admit to actually talking to myself through the film so you know I was seriously invested. Yes, there were a lot of colorful nouns and verbs thrown together especially joining in to ‘get out of there!’ more than once. That’s what makes THE GOOD NEIGHBOR so fascinating really.
One moment I was chewing out the teens for what they were doing and the next was interested in what the boys might find. Curiosity definitely has the chance of killing the cat at it were.
The set in Grainey’s house is eerie, creepy and totally doily dated! Compared to houses today with all the fancy gizmo’s and gadgets, Grainey’s house gives off an air of uncomfortableness and a place to stay away from.
The cast, especially Miller and Gilchrist, worked so well together to bring about this suspenseful thriller with an ending that is a smack to parents out there. Know what your kid is doing at all times – all times!
In the end – you never know who is watching!