Girl Next Door, The
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To me the fifties always seemed a time of naïve innocence. It was a time of separate beds, Leave It to Beaver, taking Mary-Lou to lookout point for hopes of rounding first base and hitting a soda shop for a quick malt. I guess I was the naïve innocent. Turns out a lot more was going on behind closed doors than I knew. The fifties I guess were more of a time of repression. Well, repressions and bat-shit craziness for some. The Girl Next Door, based on true events and taken from a Jack Ketchum novel, tells the tale of the destruction of innocence for a young woman and young boy thrown into a twisted “game”.
“Aunt” Rose was one of those “cool” moms. You might know the type. You head over to hang out with your friends and she lets you have beers underage, laughs and makes crude jokes and just becomes one of the guys. I knew a few of these women in my youth and they were a lot of fun at the time. Rose though seems to have a few screws loose. When sisters Meg and Madeline move into their Aunt Rose's house, Rose seems to unravel a bit. Making Meg and her sister’s life hell seems to be her full motivation. What starts as pure mental abuse, unravels into sexual and physical torture. David, who had become friends with Meg, gets roped into the madness and eventually tries to help his poor friend.
The Girl Next Door is a twisted little ditty. The film follows the eyes of the young David. The problem that I had with this character is his lack of motivation to help his friend. He sees what’s going on and at times speaks up in defiance, but overall just watches like everyone else. This could be a case of “who will believe a young kid” or “I was raised to not sass adults”, but the kid seemed to have a mind of his own throughout the movie. You could see the pain in his face knowing what is happening to his friend, but he was just too worthless for me. One scene tried to show the child being unheard by his parents when he decides to tell them, but with them being asleep and him whispering, it didn’t have the same effect or symbolism for a child being silent or ignored. This was also the only time that David tries to tell his parents what is going on next door.
This was a small complaint, but it just annoyed the piss out of me. All acting involved with the movie did a great job. The twisted were twisted and the innocent were innocent. (At least until Rose gets her hands on them.) William Atherton also does a great job as the troubled adult David, who cannot let go of the past.
While the movie is unnerving and dark, director Gregory Wilson did a wonderful job of not making the movie a Hostel or Saw type of mean spirited torture movie. That’s not to say that this movie was tame by any means, because it is still not for the squeamish. The torture moments were just not exploited. Kudos to you Greg for not going the cheap route.
Overall this movie was strong and struck a chord, which I’m sure was the whole point. It left a lasting impression after watching it. While there were a couple issues like some moments of pacing and Meg’s “friend” David, this movie is still a strong 3 ½ star movie. Quick question to you Bums out there after you watch the movie; Am I the only one that was slightly turned on by Aunt Rose’s nuttiness? I guess I just have something for the unstable.
Added: Monday, February 18, 2008
Language: eng[ Did you find this review helpful? Yes No ]
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