Hello Neighbour - The meaning behind the madness
Hello Neighbour is a survival video game developed by TinyBuild games. For a while it took the gaming side of YouTube by storm with its cartoonish graphics but incredibly strange and unclear plot. The general objective is to break into your neighbour’s house, because you suspect something fishy is going on there. You acquire keys which open doors and allow you to explore more of the house, but all the while your cranky neighbour is after you, ready to catch you and throw you out of his house. However, there is a deeper and much darker plot going on, and today I’m going to come up with a final plot of Hello Neighbour. Spoiler warning- this article contains spoilers for Hello Neighbour so YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED…
The first act begins with you playing as a child who suspects the neighbour is up to something. After you get into the basement of his house, you find rooms with fake landscapes outside fake windows to give the illusion of freedom. It becomes apparent by all the missing posters around the neighbourhood that the neighbour is kidnapping children and keeping them in his basement. Then, out of the blue, the neighbour captures you and the screen goes black. You experience a cut scene showing the neighbour crashing a car into an ice cream lorry and then a hospital bed with a blank heart monitor, implying that someone died. The neighbour is shown outside, anxiously waiting for news.
You then get back to the main story. You escape the basement and break out of his house, ending act two. Afterwards, you are shown as an adult, deciding to go back to the neighbour’s house. You return, and having acquired several power ups, go back to the neighbour’s basement and go through a special door to reach a boss fight against a giant version of the neighbour. Once he is defeated, you see a cut scene showing that the neighbour is the one putting up the missing posters. The last boss is a creature you have been seeing popping up around the house. The shadow monster. The boss fight consists of you protecting your child self from it as you grow rapidly larger until the monster evaporates. You are left with a scene showing the shadow monster and the neighbour in a small room. The neighbour seems to be blocking the door and the shadow monster seems to want to escape. The game then cuts to a scene of the player waking up, implying that “it was all a dream…” which feels a bit cheap but let’s put that aside.
Right, that was a lot, wasn’t it? Okay, let me give a full explanation of what I think this all means.
The neighbour was involved in a car accident which left his son/daughter in a life threatening condition. They died, but, and this is where my explanation differs from most, the neighbour was never notified. This is why we see him putting up the missing posters and it’s also the reason why we never see him in a funeral cut scene. It’s also why he is only seen outside the hospital room, impatiently waiting for news that never comes. So this drove the neighbour insane and he kidnapped the player and presumably several other children. I know, really dark, right?
So you were kept captive for several years but eventually escaped and travelled far away. Meanwhile, the neighbour was discovered and gave himself up to the police. The neighbour gave himself up and this is what the scene at the end means. The shadow monster is the insanity and anxiety that the car accident caused. The madness that overcame the neighbour and the people he kidnapped. It spreads like a disease but the neighbour is putting a stop to it. So he’s a hero in the end. I didn’t really explain the shadow monster boss but with all this information you can probably guess. Anyway, that was a long one, wasn’t it? Thanks for sticking to the end.
Do you agree with my interpretation? Do you have any theories of your own?