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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartrending yet Powerful Cinema
'The Girl Next Door' is a horror/drama/love story that released in USA in 2007 and took three years to release in the UK via DVD. The movie is critically acclaimed, however has generally went unnoticed on both releases. The film is an adaptation of the 1989 novel of the same name written by Jack Ketchum. It's also loosely based on the true story of Sylvia Likens...
Published on 9 July 2010 by Mitun

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes ‘horror’ doesn’t need the supernatural
‘The Girl Next Door’ is a pretty nasty little film. And it’s not your ‘traditional’ horror film. These days ‘horror’ means either a guy in a mask stalking and murdering overly-sexed teens, or a ghost making a family’s life hell in their home. However, here everything remains horribly real.

And, to make matters...
Published 3 months ago by Albatross


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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartrending yet Powerful Cinema, 9 July 2010
By 
Mitun (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Girl Next Door [DVD] (DVD)
'The Girl Next Door' is a horror/drama/love story that released in USA in 2007 and took three years to release in the UK via DVD. The movie is critically acclaimed, however has generally went unnoticed on both releases. The film is an adaptation of the 1989 novel of the same name written by Jack Ketchum. It's also loosely based on the true story of Sylvia Likens.

The movie is set in 1958 and tells the story of two young girls Meg Loughlin (Blythe Auffarth) and Susan Loughlin (Madeline Taylor) who after losing their parents in an accident, move in with their Aunt Ruth (Blanche Baker) and her three sons. They then experience brutal mistreatment within then household.

The movie is ninety minutes in duration and what a powerful ninety minutes it is. It starts slow introducing the main characters and seems as though it's going to be a nice coming of age drama. I was feeling good at this point but I was in for a shock as the story took a complete opposite and hellish turn. The story keeps you engaged throughout whilst playing around with the viewers emotions. I went through so much watching the movie. It was disturbing to the extent that I wanted to look away from the screen but at the same time I couldn't because I became that involved with the story and the chararcters. I felt like doing something for the sufferring characters but at the same time was really helpless. The movie progresses with the viewer glued to the screen and then ends effectively. In the end I was exhausted but straight away decided that this movie was an Oscar winner although it was ignored by the academy awards.

The movie touches on really sensitive issues like child abuse, violence against women and responsibilities of adults. On watching the movie, it's hard to beleive this happens or happened in real life. The film gets you thinking big time.

There is also an emotionally touching and moving love story between two of the lead characters, Meg Loughlin (Blythe Auffarth) and David Moran (Daniel Manche). This sticks in your mind alongwith the rest of the movie long after end credits have rolled.

Blanche Baker is just perfect as the sadistic aunt, I felt like killing her. Madeline Taylor is a gem. William Atherton (narrator/adult David Moran) is fine in a brief role. The show stealers in order are Blythe Auffarth and Daniel Manche who produce award winning performances. Auffarth in one word is 'SUPERB' as the lead actress. No one else could've portrayed the innocence and beauty, they way she did. Manche in the other hand does a great job and expresses his emotions effortlessly via his eyes. The rest of the cast are also flawless.

The direction provided by Gregory Wilson is excellent. The movie is excecuted in the best possible manner and the extraction of award winning performances from the actors makes this feature essential vewing.

The background music score by Ryan Shore is emotional and full of hope. It adds another dimension to the moving storyline.

It should be noted that there are a number of gut-wrenching scenes, which some viewers may find offensive. It's certainly not for the faint-hearted. I'm used to all kinds of movies and even I had to look away at times. Saying that, you need to watch this to understand fully and appreciate that this is based on true events. I think one of the main reasons it bothered me was because I knew this had sort of occurred in real life rather than just being made up.

'The Girl Next Door' is painful, controversial, shocking, disturbing and twisted but OUTSTANDING!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WATCH IT ALONE IN CASE YOU COMPLETELY BREAK DOWN., 1 Oct. 2010
By 
FXLXOX (london, uk) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Girl Next Door [DVD] (DVD)
I watched TGND yesterday on dvd, alone at home, via lovefilm.
Being a big fan of horror and thriller and revenge movies I wasn't sure where this one was going to go. Someone recommended it to me at the Frightfest festival only telling me it was disturbing. Disturbing how? forgot to ask her!
I once said to my man that I didn't mind a bit of torture when the subject is guilty, and deserves it (the Last House on The left...) but this is what I didn't know is here the poor girl is completely innocent.
Well, thank God I found it hard to watch as it made me realise I have not yet become an insensitive cold hearted horror fan viewer.

I absolutely loved the acting. The victim was portrayed as caring, sweet and very gentle, which understandably would irritate her aunt who is the opposite. This really explains why her aunt hates her so much.
David was so charismatic and adorable as he struggled to help but you really feel for him. He did try and that is what he did last that counts.
This is the morale of the story told by himself when he is older, and I really liked that. It is easy to do nothing but trying no matter how counts so much more.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes ‘horror’ doesn’t need the supernatural, 29 Jan. 2015
By 
Albatross "Never argue with idiots" (Suburbia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Girl Next Door (DVD)
‘The Girl Next Door’ is a pretty nasty little film. And it’s not your ‘traditional’ horror film. These days ‘horror’ means either a guy in a mask stalking and murdering overly-sexed teens, or a ghost making a family’s life hell in their home. However, here everything remains horribly real.

And, to make matters worse, it’s even based on real events. Normally, when a film is allegedly based on real events, it means that something might have inspired the film, but has been massively changed to make it more ‘Hollywood.’ However, here it looks like this pretty much happened the way it’s portrayed here.

Two young girls’ parents die and they’re forced to live with their aunt and her sons. Sadly for the girls, blood is definitely not thicker than water. The aunt is a complete psychopath and is seemingly happy to raise her children to be equally as horrible. Therefore, what follows is a story of abuse and torture. The two girls’ one hope comes in another young boy who lives next door. He sees what’s happening and – naturally – doesn’t approve, but can and will he do something to save them?

Because all but one – the aunt – of the actors and actresses in this film are basically kids, the production may suffer from a lack of professionalism. Sometimes kids in films just don’t go and become annoying. Well, granted many of this woman’s brood are very annoying (and downright psychotic) they play their nasty little parts very well. Of course if you don’t have kids, this film may just put you off having them forever.

The film starts and ends with an adult, basically looking back on the story he witnessed. I felt this aspect was kind of unnecessary and could have been left on the cutting room floor.

Normally, with a film that I enjoyed, I’d definitely watch it again, if not sooner rather than later. However, despite seeing this film as actually quite good, I don’t think it’s the type I could sit through for a second time. It is horrible. No mistake. So, despite it being well-acted, horrific and generally good for what it is, I don’t think I could go through it again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic story screened well, 25 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Girl Next Door [DVD] (DVD)
To say this story is tragic is an understatement. I dont want to let too much of the story go, but I watched this after my friend told me about it and because she told me all about it I kind of had a knot in my stomach unsure of whether to watch it. I did 2 weeks after purchase.
I couldnt stop thinking about the girl after, it broke my heart and I cried my eyes out. To think this is a true story its almost unbelievable the cruel acts this poor girl was subject to. It was filmed to captivate hearts and it did mine. I dont think I could watch it again as like I said it broke my heart. Brilliant film i'd recommend it to anyone to watch atleast once.
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5.0 out of 5 stars RIP, 12 May 2011
This review is from: The Girl Next Door [DVD] (DVD)
I watched this film with my daughter who usually never shuts up and talks all the way through films. However, in this film she was silent all the way through as was I.

I understand it is based on true events although I don't know what's true and what isn't but needless to say I was totally gripped from start to finish. There are some unspeakable acts of torture by her aunt - which again I don't know if this really happened but made uncomfortable viewing and I was willing Sylvia to escape her tormentors. The story is heartbreaking, I'm glad I watched this in the privacy of my own home, I can't believe some people are that evil...:(
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Mrs. Chandler must love having her around", 28 Dec. 2011
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This review is from: The Girl Next Door [DVD] (DVD)
It's 1958 and David is fishing for crayfish when he's interrupted by Meg Loughlin, they seem to hit it off and she has a go at catching one herself. He asks about a large scar on her arm, and she tells him that she got it from an accident that killed her parents and permanently injured her younger sister. Before she leaves, she reveals that she is staying with her aunt and cousins, who are David's next door neighbours. Her aunt is Ruth Chandler, a single woman with many children, all boys. She chainsmokes and lets her boys and a few of the local kids drink beer and pretty much do as they like. Everything seems fine at first, and apart from the odd remark from Ruth to Meg, the two girls seem to have settled in rather nicely.

When Meg refuses to burn tent worms from the trees in the garden, Ruth seems to think that Meg is too much of a lady to burn them, and feels personally offended of the insinuation that she isn't a lady. When we next see Meg, she asks David to buy her a burger as she hasn't been allowed to eat for the past two days. Meg tells David that this isn't a one off, and that Ruth and her children hate her. Not long after this, David sees Ruth yelling at Meg's defenseless younger sister, Susan. When David innocently tries to pretend that Meg has done Ruth a water painting, Ruth instantly realises that she did it for David, and practically accuses Meg of being easy.

A day or two later, David walks into the Chandler house to discover Meg laughing as the boys are tickling her. When one of them grabs her breast, she instinctively strikes the boy, scratching his face. Within no time at all, Ruth comes storming upstairs and Meg runs out of the room, so Ruth decides to punish Susan instead. It is from this point that the abuse moves from mental to physical, with Meg being tied up in the basement and subjected to all types of torture from Ruth, her kids and some of the local children. As the film moves along, the abuse escalates.

The acting and directing is very competent, some of the acting is a little average but the main characters all do very good jobs. Blythe Auffarth and Blanche Baker are by far the most convincing as Meg and Ruth, I felt sympathy for Meg and hatred towards Ruth. Daniel Manche was the better performer out of the young boys, as David is the one that had to show several emotions where as the other boys only had to show anger and hatred. There's a few recognisable faces in the film in small roles, William Atherton plays the adult David at the beginning and end of the film. Mark Margolis plays a homeless man who gets hit by a car near the beginning, and Catherine Mary Stewart who I knew from Night Of The Comet and Weekend At Bernie's plays David's mother.

The film is loosely based on the real life murder of 16 year old Sylvia Likens, by Gertrude Baniszewski, her kids and several of the children from a neighbourhood in Indiana, 1965. This film changes many of the facts. Another film called An American Crime came out in the same year starring Ellen Page and Catherine Keener, that film uses the real names and is much more factually accurate, but does that make it a better film? Well, yes it does. It may be because I saw An American Crime twice before watching The Girl Next Door, but I found the acting, directing and overall feel of An American Crime to be more realistic and disturbing. I'd heard beforehand that everything that was hinted at in An American Crime was shown in this film, but to be honest I thought the level of torture and abuse shown was similar, but the elevated acting of Page, Keener, James Franco, Bradley Whitford and others made me feel much more than this film managed to make me feel. It helps that An American Crime sticks to the actual facts of what happened, the addition of the David character made this film a little weak. I know that times were much different in the '50s to what they are now, but I refuse to believe that David wouldn't have told his parents or the police what was going on. He isn't related to Ruth or the kids that are torturing Meg, and he seems to have feelings towards her. Every kid that was involved in An American Crime and real life all participated in the abuse and no matter how bad they began to felt, telling the law would have incriminated themselves or got their mother arrested.

The DVD comes with a short featurette, lasting 5-10 minutes with a few of the people involved giving interviews. There's also a trailer for the film but nothing else, not even subtitles. The picture quality is very good, it has a TV movie look to it and it works well with it being set in the '50s. The Girl Next Door is a very decent film that mixes fact with fiction. It is disturbing to a degree, and I found it uncomfortable to sit through at times. If you like this sort of film, or are familiar with the facts of the Sylvia Likens case, then the film is definitely worth getting.

Some people may think that the makers of films like these are exploiting real life atrocities for their own gain, and in a way they are. But I feel it's also important for stories like this to be told, as before seeing An American Crime I had never heard of Sylvia Likens and what happened to her. I still probably wouldn't have to this day, and the more people that take the time to read about what really happened can only be a good thing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Touching, Heartbreaking & Emotional, 11 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: The Girl Next Door [DVD] (DVD)
This is one of the most touching films i have ever watched, throughout the whole film i was completely engrossed. It had such a powerful emotional side to it. You really felt for the Characters. Extremely phenomenal acting. The film was hard to watch in certain places (i won't give the story line away). The fact it was based on true events made it a thousand times worse. I feel like this film will stay in your mind for many months to come analyzing over every aspect. How people can be so cruel. Please do give this film a chance, you will be totally engrossed.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poor Sylvia, 24 July 2010
By 
Fordy Finn "Agent Finn" (Sheffield, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Girl Next Door [DVD] (DVD)
Firstly why did reviewer 'Hello' watch this DVD if they thought it shouldnt have been made???
I was buying some other DVD's when I bought this & told my sister come round I've bought a ghost story (whoops, added wrong film to my basket), but saying that I'm glad I did! I had never heard of this case so seeing this film (yes it was very sad & harrowing) has had me trawling the internet all day to find out the real (well as real as you can get) story. If we don't see/read about these things they go un-noticed, so although it would appear that the makers of this film have 'used' poor Sylvias torture for their gain, some people wouldnt have known it ever happened. Hope that makes sense. RIP Sylvia
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5.0 out of 5 stars so sad and evil, 15 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: The Girl Next Door [DVD] (DVD)
This movie is so sad to watch as it made me cry to what that girl went though
and the torture and punishment she had to bare.
This film is based on a true story it hard to believe that it did happen in real life.
The acting by all the cast where excellent and dam good.
It is well directed and it the most moving film I ever seen.
The ending to this film is so sad I was hoping she got away.
IF you haven't seen this yet I would recommended that you do.
Would of like to have known what happened to the boys and her sister.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing, 12 Jan. 2008
I never read the book, so for me the film had no expectations. Which is a good thing. The film makers are given a certain amount of time to capture the story, where as a book will always be granted the luxury of time. Its unfair to compare films with books because of this. A previous reviewer says its a pointless film. Does this not apply to the book it was adapted from, for which they had so much praise?
Anyway, the film is gut wrenching. The acting is difficult for such a young cast in their roles so they can be forgiven for their lack of oscar winning perfomances. The actresses playing Meg and Ruth do deserve oscars, as they were entirely convincing in their parts.
The story focuses on a two girls who lose their parents in a car accident and are forced to live with their evil aunt. The story is told from the point of David, in flashback to the fifties. David is the kid living next door to the two girls and their evil aunt. The story starts slow and develops the relationship between David and Meg, the older of the two girls. Also we see the beginnings of Ruths hatred of the girl who is everything she isn't. The neighbourhood kids all hang out around their house and what starts as a simple childrens confession game, quickly escalates into the mindless torture of Meg at the hands of her Aunt and the neighbourhood kids. What makes it so difficult to watch is the fact that by the time the worst scenes start to take place, you actually feel an emotional attachment to her. Unlike other films featuring torture scenes eg. Hostel, Reservoir Dogs etc, these are low key and have greater emphasis on the psychological element involved. Anyone seeking buckets of blood will be disappointed, although they are are graphic enough for us to wince at.
We feel how powerless David is and question how much a young boy can do to help the girl he cares about. Everything he tries, seems to fail. You will find yourself shouting at the screen in frustration at his inaction, and any girls or women in the audience may cry or wince at one particular scene.
Anyone who doesn't feel a thing while watching this film is in need of therapy for sociopathic tendencies. It rips your heart out and stays with you long after the credits have stopped rolling. Certainly not one to be watched on a date or if your in a state of depression, but well worth seeing at some point. Disturbing stuff.
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The Girl Next Door [DVD]
The Girl Next Door [DVD] by Gregory Wilson (DVD - 2010)
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