Writer and director, Jacob Tierney — working from a Chrystine Brouillet short-story — brings us Good Neighbors, a nifty dark comedy with an emphasis on the dark. The film, set in Montreal, centers on three neighbors in an apartment building: Victor (Jay Baruchel) is the new arrival, an earnest elementary school teacher with some neediness issues; Louise (Emily Hampshire) a quiet waitress with a quirky obsession with her cats; and Spencer (Scott Speedman), a wheelchair-bound asshole with a uncomfortably black sense of humor.
Early on, the three form an awkward friendship; Victor is clearly in love with Emily, Emily is in love with her cats, and Spencer is in love with himself. Meanwhile, there’s a serial killer on the loose; the three neighbors all develop a quiet fascination with murderer/rapist. There is reason to believe that one among the three is the possible killer. Tierney expertly raises our suspicions and then confirms them, before taking the story into an unexpected place after another neighbor’s actions bring several secrets to the fore.
The more I say about Good Neighbors, the less enticing the mystery. I won’t reveal too much, except to say that it’s never a good idea to get between a woman and her pussy. The Canadian cast does a more than serviceable job of selling the film, particularly Speedman, who makes for one hell of a great prick. Baruchel does his best nerdy Christian Slater, but it’s Hampshire who steals the film in one darkly hilarious blood-splattered scene that makes the entire movie worthwhile.
Good Neighbors, which debuted at least year’s Toronto Film Festival, drags a bit in the middle, but its increasingly involving plot — and the patches of dark humor that echo the earlier works of Danny Boyle — are sharp enough to allow Good Neighbors to glide toward an fiendishly fun — and bleak — conclusion. It’s not exactly line-up-at-the-theater material, but in a few months time, it’s likely to become a sleeper Netflix gem.