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The Girl Next Door (2007)

William Atherton , Blanche Baker , Gregory Wilson  |  R |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)

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The Girl Next Door + An American Crime + Martyrs (Unrated)
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Product Details

  • Actors: William Atherton, Blanche Baker, Grant Show, Catherine Mary Stewart, Kevin Chamberlin
  • Directors: Gregory Wilson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • DVD Release Date: December 4, 2007
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000WC38EQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,502 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Girl Next Door" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary
  • Interviews with Cast and Crew
  • Screenplay
  • The Making of the Film

Editorial Reviews

Based on the novel by acclaimed author Jack Ketchum, The Girl Next Door draws its nerve-wracking power from a real-life horror show--the torture of Sylvia Likens and her sister by Gertrude Baniszewski and her offspring in the mid-1960s (the case also serves as the basis for the film An American Crime). Here, the Likens character is a recently orphaned teen (Blythe Auffarth) taken in by Ruth Chandler (Blanche Baker), a single mother who plies her adolescent sons and their friends with alcohol and lax supervision. Ruth takes an almost instant disliking to the bright young girl and her sister (who is afflicted with polio) and mounts a campaign of mental and physical abuse upon them; her sons quickly fall into step behind their mother, and a neighborhood friend (Daniel Manche) struggles with his own participation in the atrocities. As true crime thrillers go, The Girl Next Door succeeds on many fronts: Baker and Auffarth give impressive performances, and the violence, though harrowing, is never offered as exploitation. Director Gregory Wilson also keeps the pace brisk and breathtaking as the torture escalates; however, he is less capable in the expositional scenes, and the script by Daniel Farrands and Philip Nutman has a leaden ring at times (which undoes the efforts of the younger cast). Still, it's challenging fare for strong-hearted horror and suspense fans. The DVD includes two sets of commentary: one by Wilson, producer Andrew van den Houten, and cinematographer/co-producer William M. Miller, and another by Ketchum and the screenwriters, who pull no punches in expressing their displeasure over changes made to the film's conclusion (and their assessments are entirely correct). Interviews with the cast and crew and the original screenplay (in DVD-ROM format) round out the supplemental features. --Paul Gaita

Product Description

In a quiet suburban town in the summer of 1958, two recently orphaned sisters are placed in the care of their mentally unstable Aunt Ruth (Emmy® winner Blanche Baker of HOLOCAUST). But Ruth s depraved sense of discipline will soon lead to unspeakable acts of abuse and torture that involve her young sons, the neighborhood children, and one 12-year-old boy whose life will be changed forever. William Atherton (DIE HARD), Catherine Mary Stewart (NIGHT OF THE COMET) and Grant Show (MELROSE PLACE) co-star in this devastating drama adapted from the controversial best seller by Jack Ketchum that Rue Morgue Magazine called one of the most disturbing reads in the history of horror literature.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
115 of 127 people found the following review helpful
THE GIRL NEXT DOOR is a film based on Jack Ketchum's novel, which is based on true events. I've seen a lot of horror films in my time, and I have to say that the scariest ones are always the ones that hit close to home. When you read the newspaper, watch the news, you sometimes see and hear things that are almost unbelievable that humanity can sink into such aberrations. This film borders around the line between exploitation and voyeurism, but believe me, "The Girl Next Door is a realistic, disturbing and genuine journey into one girl's personal hell.

Synopsis derived from the dvd back cover:
In a quiet suburban town in the summer of 1958, two recently orphaned sisters are placed in the care of their mentally unstable Aunt Ruth (Blanche Baker). But Ruth's depraved sense of will soon lead to unspeakable acts of abuse and torture that involve her three young sons, the neighborhood kids, and one 12-year old boy whose life will be changed forever.

People may say that some stories don't need to be told and I agree with them. "The Girl Next door" is arguably something that should have been left on the shelf. However, those who deny such stories also naively deny the twisted reality of life sometimes. This film is sort of a "coming of age" piece with a very dark, edgy premise that plays like a morality drama. In viewing this film, the viewer has to get pass the disturbingly graphic images to be able to appreciate its subtext, otherwise one will think that it is an exploitation flick with minors involved. Being based on a true story, the viewer has to keep in mind that this case did happen, and may POSSIBLY happen again somewhere.
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59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable and Painfully Powerful November 18, 2007
I walked out of the theater numb and shaking. Very skillfully done, it was a horrifying look at severe child abuse with wonderful acting and full of tension. A third of the people in the theater where I saw this film at were crying or in tears as we left the building. Knowing it was based on a true story made it even more tragic. An emotional rollercoaster ride if you are brave enough to watch. You'll never forget it. Highly recommended.
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67 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutal... November 19, 2007
Not knowing anything about the book I walked in to this expecting a fun and creepy horror film. What I got was easily one of the most unforgettable film experiences I've ever had. Gruesome and disturbing without ever being trashy. As a matter of fact, the most amazing thing about the film is how great the direction and performances are. The woman who plays Ruth creates one of the most frightening monsters in film history. Hats off to the rest of the cast and crew for making a film that's going to take me a while to shake off. I'm not gonna go into details of the story. All I'm saying is SEE IT. You won't be sorry you did.
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie will shock you to your core. January 19, 2008
Normally writing a review is quite simple; I discuss what I liked or disliked or what could have been better. I'll mention the acting, writing and directing and further get into my thoughts on the product. But for the first time I'm actually speechless. I really don't even know how to put this review together or where to even start. I've seen a lot of movies in my time, but I don't think a movie has ever made me feel the way The Girl Next Door did. As a fan of extreme cinema and exploitation flicks I've seen the most shocking of movies. But The Girl Next Door is probably the movie that most got to me. And while yes the movie has violence you don't see a lot of it, but knowing what is happening you don't have to see it.

This movie isn't entertaining and I can't say I enjoyed it. It's kinda hard to enjoy a movie like this. But The Girl Next Door is simply brilliant. This is what filmmaking is all about. This movie will shock you to your core. Anybody with a heart will find this movie deeply disturbing. What makes it even worse is this is inspired by a true story and from what I hear the true story is even more horrific. What makes matters worse is that it's a child who goes through these terrible events. Not that it's ok if it's an adult, but there is something worse when these terrible things are done to a child.

The Girl Next Door I have to say turned my stomach I actually felt sick watching the movie and I even got teary eyed, which is something that never happens to me. After the movie was over all I could do is stare at the screen with this terrible feeling. I was sort of numb and just well felt sick. This movie aims to disturb and it does big time. This movie will stay with you after you watch it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A traumatic cross-breeding of horror imposed January 31, 2008
Slice off a piece of Kids and Hostel. Tear off a chunk of Irreversible and Misery. Then if you mix in a heavy dose of Wonder Years, Stand By Me, and Salo, you might get a hint of The Girl Next Door. It really is one of the most disheartening, haunting, and inhumane depictions of overwhelming evil.
This movie is based on a true story of a teen girl who suffers unspeakable abuse in the basement of her house. There is much more to this story than just child torture though. It's also a period piece, a love story, a coming-of-age story. There are heavy themes of authority, choices, morality, secrets. Each scene is an essential patch woven into an absorbing tapestry. It won't give you a warm feeling inside.
The director Gregory Wilson does an amazing job working with these kids. There are some devastating, adult situations that I'm pretty sure some of the young cast wasn't actually present for. At least I hope not. Additionally, I was impressed with how much of the horror occurs off screen, the implied brutality will leave scorching images in your mind.
This film is pretty close to perfect, as far as disturbing cinema goes. The only slight problem I had was how nearly all the kids seemed to immediately transform from childhood playmates to sadistic little psychopaths. Hopefully no kids are this evil. Their wicked, overbearing aunt manipulated them pretty easily. There might have been some time constraints, but this extreme change happened rather quickly.
This doesn't take anything away from the staggering effects of this horrendous story. It's a sick diversion, a film that will submerge itself deep into your mind and fester there for long after. Proceed with caution.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good movie, but a "One time watch"
I have been on a mission to watch "the most disturbing movies of all time". This one comes in at 2nd place right behind Funny Games (1997) in my quest. Read more
Published 6 days ago by J. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Based on a try story and very intense.
Published 23 days ago by Pearl
5.0 out of 5 stars I do like this video
I do like this video. I have only seen the other one and didnt know this version was out there. I am glad to have seen both
Published 1 month ago by Pen Name
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
It was very disturbing.
Published 1 month ago by Robert J Ward
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A very disturbing movie and was ashamed of how erotic I found much of it
Published 1 month ago by T. J. Steffens
2.0 out of 5 stars Take shower after watching.
There is scarcely a plot to this movie, just a lot of abuse being heaped on one girl who no one ever seems to realize is missing. Read more
Published 3 months ago by S J Lewis
3.0 out of 5 stars nasty
this movie was nasty and and dont wast your money watch it on youtube. And the lady got rapped so sad .
Published 3 months ago by Raegan Grier
4.0 out of 5 stars Production Perfect, Content Sickening
I think this is the most disturbing film I've ever seen. I'm a horror film buff and thought I had seen it all, from indie chillers to Asian horror. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sasha
2.0 out of 5 stars girl next door, based on Sylvia Likens?
DId not like this film. Pointless. IF this is based on An American Crime, it failed. Very unpleasant to watch.
Published 4 months ago by stan wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars pretty good movie.
kinda like mum and dad a little but an American version of that with not as much violence a very good movie
Published 6 months ago by martyrs fan
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Topic From this Discussion
No subtitles.
Why would someone who doesn't know English be asking for English subtitles on a film that is in spoken English? Duh, think about it.

Oddly, there are subtitles on the DVD version, but not on the Blu-Ray.
Aug 24, 2011 by Thren 272 |  See all 4 posts
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