Watch The Girl Next Door
- 1 hr 37 min
The Girl Next Door is a harrowing drama based on the true story of a teenage girl named Sylvia Likens, who was subjected to unimaginable abuse and torture at the hands of her caretakers in 1965. The film, released in 2007, is directed by Gregory Wilson and stars William Atherton, Blythe Auffarth, and Blanche Baker. The movie follows the life of David Moran, a successful executive in the 1980s, who returns to his hometown and reminisces about the summer of 1958, when he was a young boy growing up in a close-knit community. He is haunted by the memories of the terrible things that happened to his neighbor, Sylvia, and how he and his friends were powerless to stop it.
As a teen, Sylvia moves in with her Aunt Gertrude and her family after her parents leave to join the carnival. At first, she is happy to have a new family and be introduced to a new world of possibilities. But soon, things take a dark turn when Gertrude becomes increasingly abusive towards Sylvia and enlists the help of her children and their friends to torture and subject Sylvia to unspeakable horrors.
The film's narrative unfolds through David's perspective, as he watches from afar, horrified by what is happening to his friend but unable to intervene. The movie shows how each character, including Gertrude, justifies their actions to themselves, allowing them to perpetuate the abuse.
What makes this movie all the more unsettling is the fact that it is based on a true story. Sylvia's story is a disturbing and unforgettable tale of human depravity, and the movie does not shy away from depicting the gruesome details of her torture. But it's not just Sylvia's harrowing story that makes this film so effective. The movie shows how the community around her turned a blind eye to her suffering or even encouraged it, making it clear that such horrors are not the work of a lone individual, but of a system of oppression and cruelty.
The performances in this film are powerful and raw, with Blythe Auffarth delivering a compelling and heartbreaking portrayal of Sylvia. Blanche Baker's performance as Gertrude is also excellent, as she transforms from a sympathetic caretaker into a monster before our very eyes.
Visually, the movie is striking, with the rural 1950s setting being portrayed in a way that is both nostalgic and eerie. The use of color and lighting is used to great effect throughout the film, emphasizing the contrast between the seemingly idyllic setting and the horrors that lurk just beneath the surface.
The Girl Next Door is not an easy film to watch, but it's an important one. It serves as a reminder that there are real-life Sylvia Likens out there, and that it's crucial that we remain vigilant against such abuse and cruelty. The film is a testament to the power of cinema to expose dark truths and to give voice to the voiceless, and it should be seen by all who are willing to confront these uncomfortable realities of the human experience.
The Girl Next Door is a 2007 thriller with a runtime of 1 hour and 37 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5 and a MetaScore of 29.