The Girl Next Door [Blu-ray]
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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.
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
- Audio Commentary
- Interviews with Cast and Crew
- The Making of the Film
Top customer reviews
The acting was actually pretty good considering what the actors had to do, and by the end of it, I found myself wanting to torture the mother who was responsible. She made the character just as hateable as that role needed to be. Some of the younger children did not sell their roles as well, but this is incredibly difficult material for young children to be able to perform. Overall, it is worth watching, but is definitely not something for your kids to watch.
There may be some detractors out there, but I felt it is a very poignant film, especially with our current events. The whole Sandusky affair rings a few bells. This movie has a great moral.
As for the movie it self, I feel like it was a Tv movie. It may be, I haven't researched it. There is also a lot of children actors in here, so most of the acting is bad. The main boy, and the girl are acted well.
What is done to her is awful, and it will leave you angry. However, though it's depictions aren't accurate of the real life event, I think it is important to know about these horrible acts in our society.
If you watch this movie, you may be under the impression that it is over the top in terms of its horrific scenes. However, if you read about the true life case, you'll see that the movie is in fact not as bad in certain instances than the actual brutality that took place. In the true case, Baniszewski and her young accomplices actually made Likens eat her own feces and used a hot sewing needle to do the branding. Amazingly enough, Baniszewski only spent 14 years in jail for the tragic crime before being paroled.
As far as the movie goes, it is excellent. The acting is superb: Blythe Auffarth does a superb job in the title role and Blanche Baker plays the diabolical murderess in outstanding fashion. Viewers will definitely feel sorry for the victim and despise the monster who did her in due to the exemplary performances. And, although the movie goes off the track of the Indiana case, it is an outstanding ally to Ketchum's fictionalized account in print. Furthermore, it is just as shocking in terms displaying the depravities humans are capable of committing.
If you can stand the horror, you'll want to check this one out. On a side note, as an alternative, you can also see Ellen Page play Likens in the more fact-based "An American Crime", another movie from 2007 (which debuted at Sundance) inspired by the same true event.
Most recent customer reviews
techniques on the wrists of the girl
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inevitably suffer never damage.Read more