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 »
In the scene at the park where Meg is seen talking to Officer Jennings, on his police car it clearly is labeled "Highway Patrol". It is not a Highway Patrol officer's job to preside over such events, nor is it to investigate possible child abuse situations. 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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Directed by Gregory Wilson, and shot and produced by William Miller, Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door is a movie that few who've seen it will ever forget. Black-hole dark and beyond harrowing, it's nonetheless a carefully crafted work and also extraordinarily sensitive. In fact, if it's not strictly a horror film, then one can only conclude that it's the genre's loss. Jack Ketchum's novel, like much of his work, is based on compelling real-life events. In this instance the story draws upon a 1960s case of almost unspeakable child abusemost of that abuse committed by other children under adult supervision. Ketchum, who is extremely proud of this film adaptation, speaks openly about production company Moderncine's initial pitch to him: "Let us make this movie before Hollywood does and ruins it." To bring The Girl Next Door to the screen, Moderncine enlisted some topnotch talent, including award-winning director Gregory Wilson, who here displays a tremendous talent working with actors, and veteran writers Philip Nutman and Daniel Farrands. Still, in a period when horror movies have repeatedly pushed, and even mangled, the envelope, this one derives most of its emotional shock not from graphic content but from the realistic and courageous presentation of a long-standing cultural taboo: on-screen violence to children. Unfortunately, it's all too easy for mainstream critics to shoot down this kind of movie by terming it "exploitative" when actually it's the opposite: a tragedy that immerses the audience in the misery of the real rather than promoting escapism with comfortable, and clichéd, lessons about violence and evil. After a successful theatrical run in New York early in the fall, The Girl Next Door is now available here on DVD. I urge you to see it. Like another powerful film released in 2007, Bug, it may hit too close to home to appeal to the typical horror fan. Indeed, it has a slightly different audience in mind: human beings.
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