Old 11-02-2008, 03:50 AM
The Girl Next Door - one step too far?

So in light of a recent thread concerning this movie as well as An American Crime, both based on the incredibly disturbing real-life torture and murder of Sylvia Likens, I decided to check out Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door, which I had actually never heard of before, out of sheer curiosity.

Now, the film itself is really quite bad - terrible acting, poorly written screenplay and overall just a general blandness to it all which really renders all the horrors a lot less disturbing than even just sitting and THINKING about the real-life atrocities that befell Sylvia Likens. That said, the movie DID disturb me in one important aspect - its utter abuse of the child actors that appear in it.

Aside from the fact that a movie like this has zero commercial potential - this is far worse than the over-the-top, cartoon-like revenge fantasies Saw or Hostel movies, because this is true under-your-skin brutality and nothing good comes out of it - I really have no idea how this movie was even made in the first place. I mean, what kind of producer reads this script and says "oh, no problem, we can get child actors to do all of these things."

Most teen rauch comedies like American Pie cast actors who are slightly over the age of consent, usually around 19-20, who look younger than they are in order to play high school students in situations involving nudity, sex, alcohol and many other elements that would have child labour officials in a riot had under-age actors been involved. And when you DO use child actors, perhaps because your lewd material requires pre-pubescent characters, steps are usually taken to ensure that these children aren't exposed to things probably way beyond their maturity level: I know, for instance, that in Gregg Araki's film Mysterious Skin, which tells of and even depicts pedophilia, the child actors had separate scripts from the rest of the cast and the film was shot in such a way that they really had no idea what it was really about. Similarly, I remember reading that Stanley Kubrick was especially protective of the young actor who played Danny, and made sure to avoid exposing him to the true, horrific nature of the film he was acting in, by filming his scenes separately and then editing them together - this is despite the fact that many horror movies in the past have featured child actors doing horrific things: look no further than The Exorcist.

But really, I felt that The Girl Next Door crossed every possible line of child decency, and I'd like to see conflicting evidence proving that these young child actors were NOT exposed to these materials. Just to prove my point: Among many others, the film includes a scene featuring the folowing:
- A medium-close up shot of 16-year-old actor Graham Patrick Martin on top of actress Blythe Auffarth, thrusting, with the rest of the actors in-frame and watching the event, among them 14-year-old Benjamin Ross Kaplan, 11-year-old Austin Williams, and 11-year-old Madeline Taylor.
- The reverse angle, this time a long shot: We see 16-year-old Graham Patrick Martin, shirtless, get up from on top of Blythe Auffarth who is lying (tied) fully nude on a bed, and pull up his pants. The rest of the actors are visible in the shot, from behind, having just watched the spectacle.
- Medium-close up of 14-year-old actor Benjamin Ross Kaplan, who turns to his mother (who, in the film, is the one who took the girl in and began her torture) and asks her, "Mom, I want to fuck her! Can I fuck her?" To which the mother replies, with Benjamin Ross Kaplan still in frame so there's no way they could have done this in editing so that he couldn't hear the line: "Well, your two brothers just had her, and I feel that if you go swimming around in their junk it would be like incest!" To which the young actor continues to insist that he "Wants to fuck her".

The film includes numerous scenes in which these young 11 and 14 year old actors are in the presence of a fully nude Blythe Auffarth, who herself is 20 years old so at least not under-age but still perhaps young to expose herself in this kind of way. I mean... what kind of parent would read this script and ALLOW their children to participate in something like this? And it's not even for a good cause, because the movie itself is pretty bad overall and just schlocky horror! Also, I believe, according to child labour laws the parent has to be present on-set at all times; seriously, what kind of parent, witnessing the set-ups their young kids are participating in, would allow them to do so? I was shocked to say the least, not from the events depicted in the film but from the fact that these very young, under-age child actors actually participated in these things! These kids are probably fucked up for life now!!!
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Old 11-02-2008, 04:08 AM
that is really disturbing. I haven't got an answer for ya. :-\
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Old 11-02-2008, 09:47 AM
I haven't seen the movie but I totally agree. Kubrick did the right thing with his approach to The Shining and the makers of this film should have done the same (you'd think anyone who wants to make a film would be influenced by Kubrick).

In fact, this should probably be banned now that I think about it.
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Old 11-02-2008, 10:56 AM
I have yet to see the film and I probably will at some point. I am a strong proponent of free speech and staunchly against censorship; with that said, that DOES sound like it is crossing outside of content lines and crossing into an illegal action on some level.
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Old 11-04-2008, 12:11 AM
There HAS to be some sort of consent gained from the parents, if only to cover the ass of the studio or whoever financed this thing. Blame the parents.
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Old 11-04-2008, 12:51 AM
Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are working on a remake.
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Old 11-04-2008, 12:54 AM
Originally Posted by BubbaStrangelove View Post
Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are working on a remake.
I don't get it.
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Old 11-04-2008, 04:59 AM
A lot of moviefans seem to applaud films that use children in violence (such as some gritty horror movie where a kid gets killed), but now similarly-minded fans are freaking out because kids are involved in sexual situations of molestation or rape? If we're going to be mad that kids are involved in explicitly distasteful contexts in films, we should be consistent. One has a kid saying "I'm gonna fuck her!" and another has a kid saying "I'm gonna shoot that motherfucker dead!", but we only care about the first, even though both have the same awful insinuations.

But I went off on a rant there. As far as whether or not the actual shoot was as bad as the movie's context implied, I hope it wasn't. Remember Birth? There was a scene with a 12 year old boy sharing a bath with Nicole Kidman, but the director shot it so that the two only appeared to be bathing together, and didn't actually have to do so on set. Probably similar stuff happened here. I've seen some gross stuff in independent movies involving kids, and I handle it only because I have the expectations that their scenes are tasteless from the editing, not the actual shoot.
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Old 07-04-2012, 01:12 AM
I saw it last year and hated it. It was complete and utter crap
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Old 07-04-2012, 03:36 AM
Hey, leave this movie alone! It's one of my favorite movies, period. Elisha Cuthbert is so, so sexy. Emile Hirsch is appealing and Timothy Olyphant, in what is probably my favorite pre-Justified roles of his, is just awes---

Oh, wait. Wrong movie. Okay, carry on.

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Old 07-05-2012, 08:32 PM
That actually does sound like it's going too far. Not so much in the language, but the disturbing content of the scenes.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:06 PM
I never much cared for the movie, or found it all that disturbing. Never really gave it a second thought until now, but reading your post I am sure that, like you, it was the sheer badness of it all as a film that rendered the desired effect absent, but you raise a really valid point. I have felt that way a few times (i.e all Larry Clark films) but didn't even consider it here as I truly did not like it as a movie and was really not paying much attention towards the end, but looking back you are totally right....there was no way- in a few shots at least, that the kids werent exposed to graphic dialogue and/or aberrant sexual acts. Twisted man, glad my parents weren't money hungry.
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Old 07-09-2012, 03:22 AM
Damn, I'm not a Jack Ketchum fan at all & thought you were talking about the Emile Hirsch/Elisha Cuthbert comedy instead, and was wondering which version of that film you saw...because it was all suggested and pretty tame as compared to what you're describing in this movie! Wow! And I think it actually played on television (can't remember which network); even if the offensive scenes were edited...still disturbing!
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Old 07-21-2012, 06:17 PM
I have yet to see The Girl Next Door, but am a fan of films such as I Spit on Your Grave and Last House on The Left. I've never really believed that you can go too far with a film.
But as far as exposing the young actors to that stuff, that sounds to me to be irresponsible on the part of the filmmakers. As for the IMAGES that its putting out there, I couldn't really care less.
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Old 07-21-2012, 06:32 PM
Originally Posted by Tweek View Post
I don't get it.
I was confused.

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Old 07-26-2012, 07:09 PM

Originally Posted by Monotreme View Post
These kids are probably fucked up for life now!!!
You think? How many disturbing movies did Lindsay Lohan make before she got fucked up? Zero. How can Chloe Moretz still be sane when she mostly plays mature characters? Oh my she said "cunt" in one of her movies, she must be crazy now!
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:27 PM
Don't watch A Serbian Film whatever you do OP.
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:37 PM
A Serbian Film was so far from disturbing. It was SO over the top and just ridiculous.

As for Girl Next Door... I saw it... Don't really remember much about it so it couldn't have been THAT bad. I do remember it being incredibly mediocre though, but then again, I also found An American Crime pretty bland.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:50 AM
The Girl Next Door (2007)

I don't believe some of the reactions I'm reading. Some of you think that the fact that there were children in this movie that viewed a naked girl was wrong? And these little kids were wanting to "fuck" this girl? One step too far? The fact that there were kids in the movie isn't what's wrong here...it's the content! I don't believe some sick twisted something else actually made a movie like this. This poor little girl is tortured in the basement by a sick, twisted, deranged psychopath from hell (and her fucked up little boys). Man, I don't know what else to say but it's a sick twisted son of a bitch that made a movie like that.

By the way, the movie was riveting. Morbid curiosity/fascination kept me glued to see what was going to happen next!

Last edited by MajorLeeWhite; 01-16-2013 at 02:56 AM.. Reason: Forgot to add that last line.
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:59 PM
I have really enjoyed the film adapted Ketchum works so far; being this one and The Lost. Looking forward to some more.

There's lots of hysterical posts here though.
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:34 AM
L feel that any parent who incourages the child to star in,films like this where child has to watch or do anything sexual needs to be spoken to or charged any parent,who agrees is plain silly children have enough to deal with also there needs to be age restriction l thought there,were laws in place
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