Day 4 of 31 days of horror: The Girl Next Door (2007)

You think you know about pain?

I spent way too long browsing Netflix for today’s movie instead of turning on my laptop to look at my list. I do know that this was not on my list, but I also didn’t know that it existed. I read Jack Ketchum’s book, The Girl Next Door, not too long ago. That was a tough read. The ones that are based on real events usually are.

Now I know that it’s hard to whittle down a 350+ page book down to an hour and a half movie, but this one really missed the mark.

I never really figured out if we’re supposed to be sympathetic to David, the neighbor boy who mostly just watches it all go down. He’s clearly having a crisis of conscience and even finds the courage to make a half assed rescue attempt. But he just keeps coming back to watch for so long. I guess he’s just there as a plot device, because there’s no indication that there was a real world David for Megan’s real world counterpart, Sylvia. He worked okay in the book, but not so well in the movie.

I don’t remember a blowtorch in the book, but I may have blocked that out. I guess at least they left out the coke bottle scene.

Anyway. There are some parts this movie did pretty well. The woman playing Ruth was quite a believable psycho, as were most of the boys. Still there was something missing. The characters in the book made you cringe with dread. The movie characters just sort of did things without any context. We don’t see Ruth’s coercive power over the boys. We don’t see the boys banding together. I think if I hadn’t read the book, I might have a better impression of this movie. Slightly. You’re not missing much if you skip this one.

I should have looked at my list.

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