December 5, 2009

Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door (2007)

I watched this movie just as I finished the novel, and quite frankly was amazed that it was possible to turn the book into a respectable movie at all without losing any of the book’s power. However, screenwriters Daniel Farrands and Phiip Nuttman, along with director Gregory Wilson do an incredible job.

The story follows the book’s very closely, of course there are a few minor omissions here and there and the odd change, but nothing too drastic. Once again we follow the summer of 1958 with David and the events that take place next door in his neighbours basement after young Meg Loughlin and her sister Susan move in.

Aside from the writing and direction real credit here must go to all the cast involved as they all do a phenomenal job in bringing Ketchum’s characters to life. In particular Blanche Baker, who is fantastic as the evil Ruth Chandler, Blythe Auffarth who gives a stunning performance as poor Meg and Daniel Manche as young David. All were great though throughout.

Visually the filmakers did a wonderful job of bringing 1950’s America to life, on what I can only assume was a limited budget (not that you can tell at all).

Quite often books get labelled as "unfilmable" for whatever reason, whether it be visually or due to the narrative style. In this case it would be down to the subject matter, and I for one am glad to see that someone had the balls to bring it to the screen. None of the power of the book has been lost and as such it makes a perfect companion to the novel. Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door is a violent and harrowing movie, but a quite wonderful one too.

Highly recommended.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review by Jude Felton

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