The Girl Next Door (2007) – By Brian Morton

 Once in a while you judge a DVD by it’s cover and you really mess up…because if you judge them without watching them, you’re probably only screwing yourself out of seeing a great movie. That’s the case with the new release, The Girl Next Door.

The story here is a sort of dark version of Stephen King’s Stand By Me, set in 1958, in a idyllic small town, a bunch of kids are just having a typical summer, when they meet Meg and her sister Susan. The girls are living with their Aunt Ruth, who took them in when their parents died in a car crash. Everything seems pretty normal and one of the kids has a crush on Meg, who is a very pretty girl, when one of the boys begins to realize that all isn’t right where Meg lives. Her aunt is nice to the boys in town, but treats Meg and her sister very poorly…but the extent of the poor treatment doesn’t become apparent until later. As the story unfolds, we realize (as our hero does) that Ruth isn’t normal at all, and that the way she treats the girls goes a bit beyond rough!

The Girl Next Door is especially disturbing because it doesn’t seem too much like fiction, it genuine feels like something that could happen, and, since the story is purportedly ‘based on actual events’ it doesn’t seem too improbable. The Girl Next Door takes the ‘coming of age’ genre and adds a layer of horror that’s so shocking and disturbing that you can’t take your eyes off of it! And, since it’s told through the eyes of the children, you (as the audience) feel the same sense of helplessness that they do, you’re watching horrific things happen and you’re totally powerless to do anything to stop them. The Girl Next Door is a glimpse behind the scenes of the ‘Leave It To Beaver’ type 50s America, with a dose of current day reality, which is probably closer to the truth than any of us would like to admit. I’m giving The Girl Next Door four out of four cigars, because this is a movie that will stay with you, it will haunt you! You can check out The Girl Next Door for yourself (and you definitely should) by either waiting until December 4th, when it hits store shelves, or by heading over to the Anchor Bay web site, it is worth your money…plus some! So, until next time, when I’ll be overpaying for movies based on their content, remember that the best movies are bad movies.