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The Girl Next Door (2007)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Horror  |  17 October 2008 (Italy)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 17,022 users   Metascore: 29/100
Reviews: 177 user | 78 critic | 5 from Metacritic.com

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.


(as Gregory M. Wilson)


(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Girl Next Door (2007)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Adult David Moran
Officer Jennings
Dean Faulkenberry ...
Gabrielle Howarth ...
Cheryl Robinson
Benjamin Ross Kaplan ...
Donny Chandler (as Ben Kaplan)
Spenser Leigh ...
Denise Crocker
Daniel Manche ...
Homeless Man Hit By Car
Greg Northrop ...
Police Officer #2 (as Gregory Northtrop)
Mr. Moran
Santo Silvestro ...
Ice Cream Vendor


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 Benjamin Chacko

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In this town murder became the neighborhood game See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sadistic torture and sexual abuse, nudity, language and strong sexual dialogue - all involving children | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 October 2008 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 goes to talk to his Father at work. There are several Liquor Bottles sitting on the Bar that had UPC symbols on them. UPC symbols didn't come out until the late 70's or very early 80's. The story takes place in 1958 way before UPC symbols existed. See more »


[first lines]
Charlie Franklin: [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.
See more »


Referenced in The Making of 'The Girl Next Door' (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

A Deeply Disturbing Tale of Truth
29 December 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Meg Loughlin's parents are dead, causing her and her sister to live with their aunt Ruth. Ruth is not like the other parents: she allows the neighborhood children to smoke and drink, and has an intense dislike for Meg -- for no real reason. After telling the police about mistreatment, Meg's punishment becomes more and more severe.

First, let me say that Blythe Auffarth (who plays Meg Loughlin) is an amazing actress. Some of the scenes in this film are truly awful -- not acted awful, mind you, but are just visually repellent. Most actresses would say no to the torture, rape and beatings contained in this film. And you cannot blame them. But Auffarth accepts the role and does an amazing job of being the normal "girl next door".

While watching this film, I told myself I had finally found the spiritual successor to "Last House on the Left" and my opinion remains the same. Like "Last House", this film is scary because of its realism. The events could actually happen to the victim, it's not just a psycho with an ax (which, while possible, is more fantasy than anything). Perhaps this film even trumps "Last House" in a way because the events really did happen, and actually happened worse than depicted here. The real girl, for example, also had to consume human waste, which is not shown here.

Making the film even more powerful is that we are shown the events from the point of view of the neighbor boy, who has a crush on Meg (despite being a few years younger). We watch them meet, become friends and then as events spin more and more out of control we see how completely helpless the boy is. While the boy is only mildly harmed in the film, it's an emotional roller coaster to be put in his shoes knowing everything that is happening and having nothing available to remedy it. The suffering he feels vicariously, we also feel vicariously. It's a pain train.

I cannot recommend this film for the squeamish. I was very uneasy watching it, making this film a member of a very exclusive list (with such others as "Kids"). Even those who enjoy seeing a film of slaughter (and sometimes I do) will be shocked in some way by this one. It's not your Jason or Freddy film, it's your sister or girlfriend really being kidnapped and there's nothing you can do about it. And yes, this really did happen and it can happen again.

44 of 59 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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