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 »
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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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.
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