When a successful country lawyer captures and attempts to "civilize" the last remaining member of a violent clan that has roamed the Northeast coast for decades, he puts the lives of his family in jeopardy.
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.
A young woman's quest for revenge against the people who kidnapped and tormented her as a child leads her and a friend, who is also a victim of child abuse, on a terrifying journey into a living hell of depravity.
A feral woman and last survivor of a cannibalistic tribe bathes wounded and vulnerable in a river, somewhere in the lush woods of Northeast coast where she used to roam free. The beast-like savage woman will seem as the perfect trophy to the eyes of Chris, a misogynistic lawyer, who will hunt the woman down and bring her home. However, is there a place for a feral, flesh-eating primitive among civilized people? In the days to come, Chris will make the woman his project, and like a proud predator kept in captivity, with the help of his dysfunctional family, he will attempt to domesticate the untamed female by breaking her will. Soon enough though, no restraints, no training, and certainly no male supremacy will be a match for the raging woman's raw and merciless aggression.Written by
A really excellent, somewhat disturbing study in family dysfunction
Its funny that the first major notice this film got was because somebody stormed out of an early screening crying misogyny. Funny because The Woman in fact is a long way away from misogyny, in fact I'd almost be inclined to call it a feminist film. Its an account of an average American family going about their business, except for the fact that the father is a complete monster who one day brings home a feral woman from the woods, who he decides to educate. From the very start this is unusual stuff, with the titular woman hallucinating birth then slaughtering a wolf for food, and while not especially violent given its reputation some pretty heavy territory gets explored, domestic abuse, familial corruption and a visceral take on gender power conflict. The film is anchored in Sean Bridgers' performance as Chris Cleek, family man gone very, very wrong. He gives the character a constant menace, a smile, bright face and charming demeanour, a plastic outside so almost right, so not quite all there that it perfectly suggests his inner depravity, and in his depravity he is just as slick and even darkly humoured. The character is patriarchy at its most terrible extension, dedicated to control and dominance, assured of its utter superiority and quick to cruelty. It finds perfect match in the woman though, femininity in its most feral savagery. Pollyanna Mackintosh is wonderfully inhuman in the role, conveying sheer violent animalism through her body language and freakish guttural grunts and growling. The rest of the performances are strong stuff too, Angela Bettis as the meek wife of the piece, downtrodden to the point of barely having her own personality, Zach Rand as son Brian following in his fathers footsteps and Lauren Ashley Carter as daughter Peggy withdrawing into her own shell from the horror. Everyone gels well together, drawing the audience in so the punches hurt all the more. I won't go into too much of what occurs once the woman is imprisoned, but you can probably guess some of it, and the film does a great job in stirring up a sense of intense, boiling rage at the increasing dark events. The soundtrack is an important part of this, often using soft indie rock it works perfectly alongside the whitebread setting and in the way it underlines the travails of the children, but also makes a fine contrast to the nastier stuff. I must say there was almost nothing that I didn't care for in this one and it's by far the best US horror film I've seen in years. Lucky McKee directs with a sure hand, mixing jolting savagery with cruel, calculating drama and a few moments of affecting dreamlike melancholia, although the film does get somewhat melodramatic and the intense finale goes into feverish pulp territory slightly unsuited to the mostly just disturbing bulk of the film, things are always surely handled. Arguably the film could have rounded things out better, developing its themes into something more intellectually satisfying than simply bloody violence (though the bloody violence is pretty darned satisfying) but its a minor quibble really. 9/10, really great stuff.
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