Good Neighbours

Notice the spelling of “Neighbours” and not “Neighbor” – it’s not an American movie but rather a movie from their good neighbours (pun fully intended) to the north. Jacob Tierney has directed two really good, intelligent movies, quite out of the way of the usual Hollywood stuff that you get to see. Both these movies star his good friend and rising star Jay Baruchel.

The movie also stars Scott Speedman, Emily Hampshire & Anne-Marie Cadieux and has a cameo by Jacob and his brother Kevin. Victor (Baruchel) has come back to Canada, after spending a while in China, to teach in a school and live in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grace neighbourhood. This is in 1995 during the Quebec Referendum where Canada was almost torn apart as Quebec was voting to see if they should or shouldn’t separate from English Canada. As Victor moves in to his apartment building he meets two people who he will spend a lot of time with – Louise (Hampshire) a waitress in a Chinese restaurant and Spencer (Speedman), a cynical young widower who lost the use of his legs in the car accident that claimed the life of his wife. Louise and Spencer have bonded over their fascination with the killer stalking their streets, news shared over old newspapers and nightly glasses of Scotch, and Victor wants in.

At the same time there is a terror on the loose; a serial killer who rapes his young female victims before murdering them has the city in a panic and after her co-worker is killed, Louise asks her new neighbour Victor to escort her back to their building every night after her shift ends at 7pm, which the love struck young man is only eager to do. Louise meanwhile reserves her affections for her two cats. Then there is the Francophone nieghbour who keeps yelling on the phone with her husband and scream at Lousie to keep her cats away from her garbage. Finally angry and fed up, this lady poisons the two cats who are later found dead by Lousie.

Eager for revenge she plots and waits for an opportune moment. She bonds with a cat that Victor has got and later has sex with him but instead of throwing out the condom she used the semen onto a dildo, climbs up to the lady’s room and kills her. Then she uses the dildo on the dead body to make it seem as if someone has raped and killed the women, leaving suspicion onto the unknown serial rapist/murder. Meanwhile at night, we find out that Spencer has only been faking his disability, even managing to fool his physio-therapist and infact is the rapist! He sneaks out at night trough his window, meets young women, rapes and then kills them. While leaving for one of his jaunts, he runs into Emily and is later seen by Victor’s brother (played by Tierney) and then Victor himself.

Both Spencer and Victor approach Louise to do the other off and it’s clear that she isn’t really that bothered. She does however set up Spencer who thinks he is going to kill an asleep Victor, but the latter however is awake and waiting for him. In the movie’s showdown, a much stronger Spencer seems to have the upper edge but while the two tussle on the fire escape, a flailing Victor pushes Spencer down to the road and to his death. The police who had been investigating the apartment console Victor as the movie ends, happy that the killer is dead.

While containing a brutally harsh yet hilarious murder scene, one you might never have expected to see, the dialogues and tension amongst the 3 main characters provide the best scenes in this fascinating movie. It’s slow to pick up but you’ll enjoy it all the same. 8 outta 10.

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