The 2007 movie The Girl Next Door is not one to be confused with the 2004 comedy of the same name about a porn star moving in next door. There is nothing to laugh about in this one and quite frankly the viewing audience if they choose to embark on a viewing of the movie should be warned.
The Girl Next Door was directed by Gregory Wilson and is based off of a Jack Ketchum novel, which was a fictional tale based on a true story. The tale is about a boy who befriends a girl who, along with her sister, moved in with the woman next door; a local hang out spot for the neighborhood boys. However, things turn dark when it is realized that the woman running the house doesn’t like little girls all too much and the games of torture begin.
There is another movie being based off of the same true crime entitled American Crime, due perhaps in theatres January 2008, though the release date is subject to change. American Crime will star young actress Ellen Page, who has shot to fame with roles in Hard Candy and Juno. It appears to be a more factual account of the crimes which took place in Indiana, about a woman who tortured a young girl to death in her basement along with the help of the young neighborhood boys. The Jack Ketchum based film The Girl Next Door is fictionalized and being promoted as a horror film. It is not a horror movie.
The Girl Next Door is almost a dark coming of age drama focusing on a singular experience in a young boy’s life when he witnesses the tortures of a young girl and yet does nothing to save her before it is too late. You will spend the entire movie angry. My warning to potential viewers: this is not entertainment.
The movie is put together very well and the acting is fine, however, the story does not lead to anything profound or worthy of endearment. You will see a young girl stripped, raped, and tortured in the most heinous of ways and in the end there is no way to clean it up all happy or Hollywood style. It is a dark and depressing film, and the suspense and tension within are the type to make you perhaps want to feel sick. I do not mean sick in the way that horror films like to promote themselves in a positive light, but rather sick in the fact that there is nothing fun or redeeming abut the film to make you feel justified in having watched it. If there is a line to be drawn in entertainment standards, for some reason this film particularly is one that I would use as an example of having crossed over it on to the negative side.
My hope is that the American Crime version of this twisted tale will being to light the court case and further details of the crime in a way to present it as a study in humanity, etc. The Girl Next Door takes the case and presents it in a brutal, horrible fashion that doesn’t seem to serve the real life victims in any way or the viewer. Kudos go to the filmmakers for the construction of the projects in several ways, however it is one of the films I fully recommend NOT SEEING. If you want to watch something that will only leave you angry and without any sort of outlet to express said anger, by all means rent this dark picture and watch a young girl get destroyed. Other than that, there are far better horror entertainment options to explore, even amongst those devised around torture and murder.