Joining the list of thriller films involving a murder mystery and curious neighbors, Lifetime’s ‘The Neighbors Are Watching’ centers around another gripping tale with plenty of twists and turns. Actress Haylie Duff sits on the director’s chair for this one to narrate the story of a single woman, Amy, with a troubled past who believes she has watched her neighbor kill someone. Suspicious of her neighbor Henry’s intentions, she gets dismissed easily by her other neighbors.
Originally titled ‘The House Across the Road,’ the psychological thriller stars Kabby Borders, Will Holland, and Elena Kent. Dealing with a possible murder in a suburban neighborhood and deep character arcs with intriguing backstories, the movie makes us curious about any possible true events that may have inspired it.
The Neighbors Are Watching Is Not Based on a True Story
No, ‘The Neighbors Are Watching’ is not based on a true story. In fact, the screenplay penned by Ken Miyamoto seems like the result of his experience with the genre, along with inspirations from some real-life cases. This film marks his second collaboration with Duff after his miniseries ‘Blackout’ went into production with Duff as an actor in it. Even if the title is similar to a 2011 novel of the same name by Debra Ginsberg, there is no confirmation from the makers about it being inspired by it. The film deals with obsession while teasing tones of stalkerish behavior, with the lead actress, Borders, spending a lot of time sitting at the window, wondering about the life of her charming yet suspicious neighbor.
This theme of stalking the neighbors and getting suspicious of their actions has been experienced in real-life cases and in popular culture as well. An example of this is the well-known case of Glenda Cleveland, who lived in the building adjacent to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s. When her daughter and niece came across a teenage boy in real life who seemed to have fled Dahmer’s house in an awkward and bloody position, she got suspicious and reported the incident to the police a couple of times. In the Netflix series on Dahmer, she was depicted more as an immediate neighbor.
These elements from ‘The Neighbors Are Watching’ will also seem familiar to those who have watched thriller films and TV shows of a similar manner, such as ‘Disturbia,’ ‘The Watcher,’ and ‘The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window.’ Apart from these, one particular psychological thriller that seems to have a similar plotline is the 2021 film ‘The Woman in the Window,’ which centers around an agoraphobic woman, Anna, who feels like she has witnessed a murder.
Anna is sure she has seen her friend Jane, who is also her neighbor, get killed in front of her, but everyone believes she is hallucinating because of her medications. She is sure about what she has seen, but it will take a lot more to convince the authorities, especially when everyone considers her insane. This seems very similar to the story of Anna in ‘The Neighbors Are Watching,’ who keeps sitting next to the window and is very suspicious of her neighbor’s intentions. It appears that there are plenty of similar elements that resonate with us in this film, even if it is not a true story.