Based on the Jack Ketchum novel of the same name, The Girl Next Door follows the unspeakable torture and abuses committed on a teenage girl in the care of her aunt...and the boys who witness and fail to report the crime.
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Loosely based on the true life events surrounding the torture Sylvia Likens faced during her stay with her aunt and her death, this movie is an adaptation Jack Ketchum's 1989 novel of the same name. Story begins with a road accident witnessed by David Moran which sets his mind into a fierce reflection of his not so good childhood memories of Meg and how they first met in 1958. After the death of their parents in a car accident, Meg and her crippled sister, Susan come to stay with their aunt, Ruth Chandler, a sadistic psychopath with their three sons, Willie, Ralphie, and Donny. Meg and her sister become an easy target and fall prey to their aunt's cruelty and her only hope is David, who happens to be her neighbor, who seems to be already captivated by her beauty. After days of mental and physical abuse from her aunt, Meg finds courage, one day to report the events to Officer Jennings. But to her disappointment, her aunt is not arrested and her life, which she thought could never get ... Written by
In the backyard tent scene where the boys are looking at the Playboy magazine, they refer to 1950's actress and pinup girl Carroll Baker, the real-life mother of actress Blanche Baker, who portrays Ruth Chandler in this movie. See more »
Though set in 1958, kids call one another "dork" and "doofus" - gradeschool put-downs that weren't in common use until Seventies or Eighties. See more »
[on David's voice mail]
Hey David, it's Charlie Franklin calling to say Happy Birthday. Sorry I couldn't get those tickets, man. I know you were counting on me, but my brother-in-law's in town. I'll give you a call next week, and maybe we can get together. Okay, have a good birthday. Take care.
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This is an excellent film and therefore in some ways it is a pleasure to watch, but anyone who has seen it will know that it's effectiveness in fact makes it almost unbearable to watch.
The story revolves around two girls who have recently been orphaned and are sent to live with their aunt who has three young sons. She is a middle aged woman obsessed with feminine purity who sees the new arrivals as a potentially corrupting influence on the masculine world she presides over.
She actively encourages her sons to perpetrate more and more severe acts of bullying and sadism against the older girl who is eventually tied up in the basement and used as a play thing by all the neighbourhood children.
Only the boy who lives next door, who has become friends with the girl, has a growing sense of unease about the "games" which are taking a very sinister turn, yet he is powerless to change the course of events.
This film is very well written, directed and performed and is therefore a relentlessly depressing affair which is horribly painful to watch. The aunt is a very cold and manipulative figure whose brutality knows no bounds and her sons quickly warm to her ideals. Realising that they have a free reign under her they too become very savage. The culmination of the acts they perpetrate are some of the most shocking I have ever seen in cinema, all the more shocking because they are perpetrated by children, against another child, encouraged by their mother.
Truly gripping. Truly horrifying. Hard to watch and hard to look away.
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