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
The movie (and the novel it was based on) is based on a true story. The character of Ruth is inspired by Gertrude Baniszewski, who, in 1965, tortured two girls who were in her care (with the help of her sons, daughters, and one of her daughters' boyfriends). Gertrude (and her daughter, Paula) was given a life sentence; in 1985, she (Gertrude) successfully made parole. She died of lung cancer in June of 1990, at the age of 60. See more »
When David is sitting next to Meg on the bed while the police officer is questioning him, he has blood dripping down the left corner of his mouth from being beaten. When they show a close-up, the blood is gone and the dirt but when the camera switches back to the side view, it's back again. 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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Before I get into the film let me briefly surmise the actual case that this film is based on. Firstly, the actual case of Sylvia Likens was in reality much more brutal than this movie portrays. If you can try for a moment to wrap your mind around that fact than you can begin to fathom the unbelievable torture that this young woman actually endured. The actual case took place in the 1960s but for some odd reason this story is set in the 1950s this is where the confusion begins. Also, in the actual case, Sylvia was not raped nor was she forced to suffer the final indignity that the character in this movie does. That aside, this is a shockingly brutal and powerful film...yes the acting is stiff but I do believe that this was intentional in order to reflect the times. This film is a period piece and should be taken as such. When you take a look at the cast and realize the caliber of actors/actresses in this film anyone can easily see that these are not bad actors. Much of the brutality in this film is implied violence rather than in your face blood and guts. There are cut-aways during some of the more intense moments of the torture scenes but in many ways this makes things even worse! In this sense, this is genius film making. It makes the viewer believe that they have seen something much more horrific than they actually have, not to say that this makes the images seen in this film any less disturbing. A friend of mine who watched this film with me told me that he was unable to sleep for the rest of the night because of this film...and we're talking about a grown man in his late thirties! That's the sort of impact a film like this has. I am looking forward to "An American Crime" which is based on the court transcripts of the actual case and should adhere more to the facts but nonetheless "The Girl Next Door" is a film that punches you in the gut and refuses to relinquish it's grip on your senses.
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