The Girl Next Door

Shamble, like a zombie, down Memory Lane. The ghost of FF2007 awaits you.
thesavageintruder
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Post by thesavageintruder » Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:23 pm

I echo the last comment by saying that i went out and bought GIRL NEXT DOOR novel on Tuesday too, and being half way through it am going to get other Ketchums too, the guy is terrific.

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Post by soulmining » Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:36 pm

The most affecting and hard-hitting film of the festival for me. I also saw someone sobbing and having to be comforted afterwards. Really harrowing and upsetting film to watch, but you couldn't take your eyes off the screen. I don't know how they can market a film like this, and I wouldn;t want to sit through this again, but applaud Paul for seeking this out and giving it a slot in the programme.
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Post by rawshark » Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:36 pm

I'd seen this one before, and as much as I admired it, there was no way I was going to watch it again..

A real reminder of what true horror actually is - I bet there was no clapping the death in this one...!
It's horrible... I love it... What is it?

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Post by AndyJWS » Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:23 pm

The film in a word - ugh.

I can appreciate it's point in the programming, but that's it. I tried to put up with the mainly poor dialogue (in the timing context and the stupid cliche wraparound), awful characterisation (most of the other kids didn't even stretch to a single dimension) and some wobbly acting (Ruth being the worst offender... just that bit tonally wrong to undermine the character) but the exploitative nude shots of the supposedly 16-year-old girl just flipped a switch and as such this is the only film in 7 years of Frightfest I can honestly say I have hated.

The cheap TV-movie-of-the-hour look does kind of work if intentional, but the directing really doesn't - there was a long debate afterwards about this where the film's defender claimed how the nudity was supposedly placed so you don't see anything. Except you do, which means that in a film that clumsily tries at one moment to make a point about being compliant by not objecting to behaviour makes the entire watching audience compliant to it's quasi-paedophilic Larry-Clark-a-like sleaziness.

The biggest insult is the pathetic attempts to shoehorn in a "message" at the end as an attempt to justify it's existence, then chooses a morally bankrupt one! By the film's logic, if George Lee Lucas spent the last days of his life knitting socks for old people, it would be that which "really counted" - a sign of immaturity and lack of any moral understanding, and indicative of the film's intent towards exploiting a horrible crime with an entertainment intent. The lack of this message in Seed marks the difference between the two films - if you're intending to depict something horrible it should not be put into a commercial entertainment light.

So yeah, I didn't really like it :wink:
"There is no Good, there is no Evil... There is only flesh..."

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Post by thesavageintruder » Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:59 pm

Quasi-paedophillic Larry Clark sleaziness?! Um, i didnt get that at all from this movie. I cant say i felt that the very brief and partly obscured nude shot was exploitative, nor do i doubt the honorable intentions of the filmmakers. But then this one was always going to provoke passionate responses either way

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Post by AndyJWS » Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:16 am

But what I'm talking about was neither brief, obscured or even a single shot! While the girl was suspended from the floor there were several such lingering shots... some were background but there was clear focus on several occasions. The only mercy was that the same wasn't done in the rape scenes (where the character of Ruth got totally undermined by inconsistent writing)...

And yeah, there's gonna be controversy over this kind of film always, and films that involve rape have always put me off. But for me there can never be a justification for showing underage-character nudity in any way, even if it had been partially obscured I'd hate it, although it wouldn't have quite the audience complicity at that point...

Maybe the intended age thing was the critical factor, I mean don't get me started on the huge undermining of It (the book) which apart from one chapter I loved but that one chapter I despise with huge passion...
"There is no Good, there is no Evil... There is only flesh..."

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Post by Laymonite » Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:04 pm

maxmum wrote:It prompted me to buy 2 Jack Ketchum books from forbidden planet on the tuesday before i went home!
Can I be nosy and ask which ones they were and how much you paid for them? I've bought a few in the past from Amazon, but they are very pricey.

As for the film, it's one of the hardest films I've ever sat through, the hardest since Passion of Christ. I could hardly talk at the end for fear that I might cry in public, something I only do when drunk.

Much tougher than The Lost, but that was a better film overall. Any chance of Red next year? Maybe I should change my user name to Ketchumite. Haha, not really. But please please please will someone make films of Richard Laymon's books?

Two things bothered me (well, you know what I mean). One, where did the cop come from all of a sudden? Apparently it's more explained in the book, which I'll reading soon.

The other thing is something AndyJWS mentioned. It was that line about it being what you do last that counts. No way! Was this an attempt at excusing Davie's inactiveness? He could have done something much earlier and saved Meg. But no. So this line felt quite vulgar to me.
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Post by xLeft For Deadx » Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:45 pm

Laymonite wrote: One, where did the cop come from all of a sudden? Apparently it's more explained in the book, which I'll reading soon.
Yup, this is explained in the book. In fact, the ending of the book is actually quite different from the film - at least from where they light the fire in the basement onwards.

thesavageintruder
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Post by thesavageintruder » Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:32 pm

I bought GIRL NEXT DOOR paperback and it only cost £5.50. Generally though you can get most Ketchum p/b books from amazon sellers for less than a couple of quid plus postage.

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Post by scrobble » Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:49 pm

I enjoyed this and found it hard to watch, but it wasn't one of my favourites of the festival. It was a good addition to the programme, and the character of Ruth was so cruel and sadistic it made her difficult to watch when she was on screen.

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Post by The Soapmaker » Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:42 pm

Whilst I wouldn't for a moment suggest that Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door "shouldn't" have been shown at FrightFest, I did have major problems with it.

We're all used to seeing horror movies with much more graphic violence and general nastiness than JKTGND, but they're not meant to be realistic or taken seriously - they're entertainment, they're fun (you know what I mean).

But this wasn't a horror movie. OK, it was loosely "based on a true story" but once it became clear that Ruth was bullying Meg every single scene was another example of her cruelty. The film seemed to dwell entirely on the darkest side of human nature. It made me furious that (apparently) 7 or 8 kids could stand by and watch these horrors unfold and feel no disgust, no inclination to do anything about it. Why hadn't David realised that these "friends" of his were such utter scumbags? And I totally reject the film's "message" that "it's the last thing you do that counts" - David only acts when it's already too late. Fat lot of good that did.

The whole thing seemed like a pointless exercise in gratuitous nastiness - in fact I'd say it's far more deserving of the "torture p*rn" label (why can't I write "p*rn", for f*ck's sake?) than the likes of Saw and Hostel.

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Post by HeadOnAStick » Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:23 am

I'm old fashoned enough to believe that there's nothing gratuitious about exploring the extremes of human behaviour; in fact I believe such things can be positive and productive. For me the film was technically strong and emotionally very difficult, the two things that I would expect if the subject matter had been treated sensitively and well.

It was about as unpleasant an experience as I've ever had in a cinema but I feel it was also one of the most rewarding. I could barely watch at times but it was the only film of the festival that I thought could be considered 'important'.

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Post by thesavageintruder » Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:25 pm

I also can think of no convincing reason why a movie like this SHOULDN'T deal with the subject matter it had. Some horror films should be entertaining and "fun" but the genre has always (thankfully) included movies that are decidedly not-fun and powerfully disturbing. I personally am drawn to horror films that truly HORRIFY and burn images/themes on to my brain that are hard to shake. When i see a horror movie, some of the time i WANT to be made to feel uncomfortable and disturbed, that is part of the genre's job. Movies like Henry Portrait of A Serial Killer, Cannibal Holocaust, Clean Shaven, The Untold Story and many others have all had that kind of effect on me, and The Girl Next Door - which i DO consider a horror film - is a masterful exercise in discomfort. It is intended to make you question and make you angry : the inaction of the other boys, especially David, is one of the most disturbing elements of the book and, in this context, i believed this could be the response (or lack thereof) of a confused, frightened adolescent boy with no real grasp of evil and lots of peers to impress.

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Post by imajica » Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:28 pm

I'm not going to go into thoughts about underage nudity or other things mentions on this thread because when watching the film none of these thoughts entered my head. All I could think about was how heartbreaking the sisters' situation was and how frustrated I was with the passive observers. A very upsetting film, the start of another Grim Sunday for me :(

I don't normally like to do it this way around but I am going to get hold of the book.
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Post by streetrw » Fri Aug 31, 2007 11:43 pm

Grim stuff indeed, painful to watch, and the fact that it's based on truth only makes it worse. Well made and acted, certainly, but I don't think it's going to find much of an audience.

As for the underage nudity; the actress playing Meg is actually 22 according to the IMDb, though whether she had a body double for the nude shots (most of which are brief and discreet, I think) I don't know. However, the character is certainly underage and I wonder whether the BBFC will have issues with this?

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