The Girl Next Door (2007), directed by Gregory Wilson, is based on the novel of the same name, and a series of terrifying events that became a young girl’s nightmare.
Written by Jack Ketchum, The Girl Next Door is based on the torture and murder of young Sylvia Likens in the 1950’s. Though the screenplay differs in some areas from the novel, it still captures the brutality of the tome and fully embraces the events that Sylvia Likens was subjected to.
The story is told from the retrospective point of view of David Moran (Daniel Manche) who lived next door to Ruth Chandler (Blanche Baker) and her boys Willie, Donny and Ralphie. Set in New Jersey during the 1950′s, two adolescent sisters, Meg and Susan, were sent to live with their Aunt Ruth and her boys after the death of their parents. Over the summer, the older of the two girls Meg (Blythe Auffarth of Keeping the Faith) is singled out to receive the majority of the punishment. It first comes in the manner of name calling but quickly morphs into physical abuse and starvation. After Meg reaches out to the police, who dismiss her claims, she is thrown into the basement where she is tied and hung from the rafters and tortured by her aunt, cousins, and the neighborhood children.
The subject matter of this film is hard to stomach but despite all of this, The Girl Next Door is well-made movie. It is smartly written and expertly paced. The acting is incredible, with the majority of the cast members being children who possess talent beyond their years.
Unlike many horror films, The Girl Next Door is not just out to showcase violence for the sake of violence. It is about the people, the attitude of the 1950′s, and what we as human beings are willing to do to each other. If you’re not easily shocked I’d definitely suggest checking it out.
WICKED RATING: 7/10
Title: The Girl Next Door
Director(s): Gregory Wilson
Writer(s): Daryl Farrands, Philip Nutman
Stars: William Atherton, Blythe Auffarth, Blanche Baker
Studio/ Production Co: Modernciné, Modern Girl Productions
Sub-Genre: Crime, Drama