Sinister Screens

The Girl Next Door (2007) ★★★½

The Girl Next Door


In this town, murder became the neighborhood game.

In a quiet suburban town in the summer of 1958, two recently orphaned sisters are placed in the care of their mentally unstable Aunt Ruth. But Ruth’s depraved sense of discipline will soon lead to unspeakable acts of abuse and torture that involve her young sons, the neighborhood children, and one 12-year-old boy whose life will be changed forever.


The Girl Next Door is the film adaptation of the novel by the same named penned by Jack Ketchum. Based on a true story of Sylvia Likens, both the book and movie really stray from the real story. But the book is far better than the movie. It’s a tortuous movie, both for the main character and viewer to have to sit through. The evils involving the aunt and kids involved in the abuse is gut-wrenching. You might classify it as a coming of age movie, but with an emphasis on the lost innocents theme.

The Girl Next Door is often cited in lists of the most disturbing films ever made. And it certainly lives up to that credit. It is a dismal and depressing look into the debasement of humanity. It’s a movie with flaws. But it ultimately succeeds in scarring the viewer in its unforgettable retelling of one of the horrible real-life travesties that occur all too often.

Story Gripes

What I don’t like about this is how the abused Meg is showcased in this film. It’s much more about the 12-year-old David and how her abuse and death changed his life. I believe a little more character development on Meg and how these acts ended her life is far more important.

And I hated the “it’s what you do last that matters” saying in it. That is so false. Because David didn’t step up in the beginning and save the poor girl’s life from spiraling, she dies. Because David tried and then failed to save her in the end and comfort her while she’s dying, he gets an I love you. Never too late to do the right thing? Not in this case! But the movie tries to really focus on the empathy for David’s life changing. Even though it’s stated he makes $300,000 per year on Wall Street and kept on living into old age.

Rating: ★★★½ (out of 5)

This product uses the TMDB API but is not endorsed or certified by TMDB.

About the Author