In a quiet suburban town in the summer of 1958, two recently orphaned sisters are placed in the care of their mentally unstable Aunt Ruth (Emmy® winner Blanche Baker of HOLOCAUST). But Ruth s depraved sense of discipline w... more »ill soon lead to unspeakable acts of abuse and torture that involve her young sons, the neighborhood children, and one 12-year-old boy whose life will be changed forever. William Atherton (DIE HARD), Catherine Mary Stewart (NIGHT OF THE COMET) and Grant Show (MELROSE PLACE) co-star in this devastating drama adapted from the controversial best seller by Jack Ketchum that Rue Morgue Magazine called one of the most disturbing reads in the history of horror literature.« less
4 ½ stars: A Powerful and shocking look at the destruction o
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 01/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE GIRL NEXT DOOR is a film based on Jack Ketchum's novel, which is based on true events. I've seen a lot of horror films in my time, and I have to say that the scariest ones are always the ones that hit close to home. When you read the newspaper, watch the news, you sometimes see and hear things that are almost unbelievable that humanity can sink into such aberrations. This film borders around the line between exploitation and voyeurism, but believe me, "The Girl Next Door is a realistic, disturbing and genuine journey into one girl's personal hell.
Synopsis derived from the dvd back cover: In a quiet suburban town in the summer of 1958, two recently orphaned sisters are placed in the care of their mentally unstable Aunt Ruth (Blanche Baker). But Ruth's depraved sense of will soon lead to unspeakable acts of abuse and torture that involve her three young sons, the neighborhood kids, and one 12-year old boy whose life will be changed forever.
People may say that some stories don't need to be told and I agree with them. "The Girl Next door" is arguably something that should have been left on the shelf. However, those who deny such stories also naively deny the twisted reality of life sometimes. This film is sort of a "coming of age" piece with a very dark, edgy premise that plays like a morality drama. In viewing this film, the viewer has to get pass the disturbingly graphic images to be able to appreciate its subtext, otherwise one will think that it is an exploitation flick with minors involved. Being based on a true story, the viewer has to keep in mind that this case did happen, and may POSSIBLY happen again somewhere.
The viewer has to pay special attention to the film's themes in order to understand why director Gregory Wilson opted to make this disturbing film. "The Girl Next door" is a tale of unfulfilled love, the moral responsibilities of adults, helplessness of children, and for people to be sensitive to what's going on. All these themes revolve around the film's main premise; abuse and the violence against women. The film is an emotion-driven film, no, it doesn't play on the graphic images and torture as much as the tiresome Eli Roth torture flicks. The film-makers knew what they were doing when they shot this film. They paid extra attention to the needed emotions inherent when one experiences such an ordeal. Meg, a pretty, innocent young girl is the victim. She loses all that she holds dear to humiliation, abuse and torture. Meg's sister is a victim of her own helplessness and fear. David is a young boy is sort of a victim also. He loses his innocence and up to his days as an adult, (as shown in the film's beginning and the climax) he still wishes that he could have done something to save Meg. David is a victim of his own conscience. Even Ruth's three boys are victims in their own way. They are victims of Ruth's twisted upbringing and philosophies on life and women. What is truly almost unbelievable is that the neighborhood kids are insensitive to Meg's plight, in fact, they seem to enjoy it. People may argue that some kids don't know what abuse is, thank goodness, my parents brought me up to be able to identify such things. Also, in this situation, "birds of the same feather flock together..."
The true instigator of the children's ordeal is Aunt Ruth; played by Blanche Baker. The actress makes an outstanding performance. Baker's portrayal as the main antagonist is realistic, disturbing and creepy in her own way. I've read somewhere before that the most dangerous psychopaths are those who think they are noble and serving a just cause. Such is the case with Aunt Ruth. Aunt Ruth preaches her mad, twisted indignation to her children (and to David) with convincing fervor that I couldn't blame them into buying into what she's saying. Another intense human horror is revealed: children do try to emulate their elders.
Now, I haven't read the novel and I'm pretty sure the book will have more answers. The film isn't perfect, some characters aren't fleshed out and "happy" people will no doubt have a lot of difficulty connecting to its story line. Also, David's parents are a bit one-dimensional and felt like they were minor plot devices to emphasize David's tortured conscience. The film however, does a lot more things right than wrong. I rather thought that it was very ingenious for the screenplay to show David as an adult haunted with his past nightmare, and how he has never forgotten his childhood friend; Meg. That up to this day, he wants to do something good to another being even at the price of his own life.
"The Girl Next Door" is not a film for everyone. Controversial and disturbing to its core, the film will no doubt offend a lot of viewers but if you look at the subtle messages instead of the graphic scenes, viewers will learn to appreciate what the film's premise is all about. This film is an unrelenting look at human horror that will stay with the viewer for a long time to come. Forget monsters, vampires, demons and werewolves, the scariest thing may just be occurring right next door...
Recommended timidly. The film is of such disturbing nature that only the most timid recommendation may be given. [4 ½ stars]
Hort Mortigan | 11/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not knowing anything about the book I walked in to this expecting a fun and creepy horror film. What I got was easily one of the most unforgettable film experiences I've ever had. Gruesome and disturbing without ever being trashy. As a matter of fact, the most amazing thing about the film is how great the direction and performances are. The woman who plays Ruth creates one of the most frightening monsters in film history. Hats off to the rest of the cast and crew for making a film that's going to take me a while to shake off. I'm not gonna go into details of the story. All I'm saying is SEE IT. You won't be sorry you did."
Unforgettable and Painfully Powerful
Holly E. Wilson | 11/18/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I walked out of the theater numb and shaking. Very skillfully done, it was a horrifying look at severe child abuse with wonderful acting and full of tension. A third of the people in the theater where I saw this film at were crying or in tears as we left the building. Knowing it was based on a true story made it even more tragic. An emotional rollercoaster ride if you are brave enough to watch. You'll never forget it. Highly recommended."
This movie will shock you to your core.
Dave. K | Staten Island, Ny | 01/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Normally writing a review is quite simple; I discuss what I liked or disliked or what could have been better. I'll mention the acting, writing and directing and further get into my thoughts on the product. But for the first time I'm actually speechless. I really don't even know how to put this review together or where to even start. I've seen a lot of movies in my time, but I don't think a movie has ever made me feel the way The Girl Next Door did. As a fan of extreme cinema and exploitation flicks I've seen the most shocking of movies. But The Girl Next Door is probably the movie that most got to me. And while yes the movie has violence you don't see a lot of it, but knowing what is happening you don't have to see it.
This movie isn't entertaining and I can't say I enjoyed it. It's kinda hard to enjoy a movie like this. But The Girl Next Door is simply brilliant. This is what filmmaking is all about. This movie will shock you to your core. Anybody with a heart will find this movie deeply disturbing. What makes it even worse is this is inspired by a true story and from what I hear the true story is even more horrific. What makes matters worse is that it's a child who goes through these terrible events. Not that it's ok if it's an adult, but there is something worse when these terrible things are done to a child.
The Girl Next Door I have to say turned my stomach I actually felt sick watching the movie and I even got teary eyed, which is something that never happens to me. After the movie was over all I could do is stare at the screen with this terrible feeling. I was sort of numb and just well felt sick. This movie aims to disturb and it does big time. This movie will stay with you after you watch it.
The screenplay was written by Daniel Farrands and Philip Nutman and it was very well written and gets the job done. They wrote one hell of a script and hopefully people take notice. I wasn't sure what to make of Farrands I've never been impressed with his writing, but this movie proves the talent he has.
Director Gregory Wilson is a talent to watch for. His scenes are well paced and he made a movie to disturb the audience and he very much did that. Like I said this movie is probably the most bothered I have ever been. I felt sick and almost wanted to cry. At one point I almost shut it off. So for that I give Gregory Wilson a lot of credit. No film has ever made me feel like that.
The performances are very strong and Blythe Auffarth as Meg Loughlin is an actress with one hell of a future ahead of her. She was simply brilliant and I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for her. What happens to her character is disgusting I'm not even gonna describe the scenes since they are so powerful words cannot do it justice. Even though the actress at the time was about 19, her character is only 13-years old. And what happens to her character should never ever happen to a child.
Once the 40-mintue mark hits the movie becomes very disturbing and it never once lets up. The Girl Next Door is a brilliant piece of filmmaking and a movie you'll never forget. The Girl Next Door isn't really a horror flick it's more of a drama/thriller, but what happens here is more horrific than any horror movie I have ever seen so therefore I do see it as a horror movie."
A traumatic cross-breeding of horror imposed
C. Christopher Blackshere | I am the devil's reject | 01/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Slice off a piece of Kids and Hostel. Tear off a chunk of Irreversible and Misery. Then if you mix in a heavy dose of Wonder Years, Stand By Me, and Salo, you might get a hint of The Girl Next Door. It really is one of the most disheartening, haunting, and inhumane depictions of overwhelming evil. This movie is based on a true story of a teen girl who suffers unspeakable abuse in the basement of her house. There is much more to this story than just child torture though. It's also a period piece, a love story, a coming-of-age story. There are heavy themes of authority, choices, morality, secrets. Each scene is an essential patch woven into an absorbing tapestry. It won't give you a warm feeling inside. The director Gregory Wilson does an amazing job working with these kids. There are some devastating, adult situations that I'm pretty sure some of the young cast wasn't actually present for. At least I hope not. Additionally, I was impressed with how much of the horror occurs off screen, the implied brutality will leave scorching images in your mind. This film is pretty close to perfect, as far as disturbing cinema goes. The only slight problem I had was how nearly all the kids seemed to immediately transform from childhood playmates to sadistic little psychopaths. Hopefully no kids are this evil. Their wicked, overbearing aunt manipulated them pretty easily. There might have been some time constraints, but this extreme change happened rather quickly. This doesn't take anything away from the staggering effects of this horrendous story. It's a sick diversion, a film that will submerge itself deep into your mind and fester there for long after. Proceed with caution."