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The Girl Next Door [DVD]
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Based on the Jack Ketchum novel and also on the actual horrific events this is the harrowing story of Sylvia Likens. Two sisters, go to live with their mentally unstable aunt Ruth after the death of their parents. All seems well at first but Ruth's depraved sense of discipline leads to unspeakable acts of abuse and torture that involve not only her other children but also others from the neighbourhood. The Girl Next Door draws its nerve-wracking, gut wrenching power from a real-life horror show described in court as the worst crime ever committed
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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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