The Girl Next Door 2007
The Girl Next Door 2007
R | 1h 31min | Crime, Drama, Horror | 17 October 2008 (Italy)
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.
Directed by Gregory Wilson, and shot and produced by William Miller, Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door is a movie that few who’ve seen it will ever forget. Black-hole dark and beyond harrowing, it’s nonetheless a carefully crafted work and also extraordinarily sensitive. In fact, if it’s not strictly a horror film, then one can only conclude that it’s the genre’s loss. Jack Ketchum’s novel, like much of his work, is based on compelling real-life events. In this instance the story draws upon a 1960s case of almost unspeakable child abuse—most of that abuse committed by other children under adult supervision. Ketchum, who is extremely proud of this film adaptation, speaks openly about production company Moderncine’s initial pitch to him: “Let us make this movie before Hollywood does and ruins it.” To bring The Girl Next Door to the screen, Moderncine enlisted some topnotch talent, including award-winning director Gregory Wilson, who here displays a tremendous talent working with actors, and veteran writers Philip Nutman and Daniel Farrands. Still, in a period when horror movies have repeatedly pushed, and even mangled, the envelope, this one derives most of its emotional shock not from graphic content but from the realistic and courageous presentation of a long-standing cultural taboo: on-screen violence to children. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for mainstream critics to shoot down this kind of movie by terming it “exploitative” when actually it’s the opposite: a tragedy that immerses the audience in the misery of the real rather than promoting escapism with comfortable, and clichéd, lessons about violence and evil. After a successful theatrical run in New York early in the fall, The Girl Next Door is now available here on DVD. I urge you to see it. Like another powerful film released in 2007, Bug, it may hit too close to home to appeal to the typical horror fan. Indeed, it has a slightly different audience in mind: human beings.
Director: Gregory Wilson (as Gregory M. Wilson)
Writers: Daniel Farrands (screenplay), Philip Nutman (screenplay)
Stars: William Atherton, Blythe Auffarth, Blanche Baker