Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Girl Next Door

The discussion on excessiveness in Torture themed horror lead me to the film The Girl Next Door which was stated to be taking the next ground breaking step in crossing the line of inappropriateness.

I wasn't particularly interested in this movie, and all said I'm not a big fan of the "torture porn" that has been touted as horror recently, but I have to admit, the talk of "new ground" intrigued me enough to watch it. What is new ground, where can it go. I'm a pretty unemotional detached fellow (admittedly to the extent that it wigs some people out) So lets go for the dark. Well here's my review of the film:

I you are looking for SAW or Hostel, you are in the wrong place. Gore, torture and terror are not what this movie is about.
To be honest I'm not sure that the classification of horror is quite right for this film, all though by definition it was indeed horrifying, but really that was not the direction or intent of the movie, no more than Brokeback Mountain was a Western.

I think I would describe this film as the Wonder Years meets The People Under the Stairs. The point of view is not so much the physical victim, but the outsider trapped in the web who develops a close sympathetic bond with the victim and is forced to suffer along with her as he struggles with his own fears and uncertainties for her and how to best help her while he himself is trapped in a less literal way. Even the peripheral characters who are as much the bad guys are in themselves victims of the main antagonist's cruelty and disturbed methods of up-bringing.

As the audience we sit helpless for 89 minutes watching this unfold, unable to change what we are seeing before us. Through this we sympathize, and really do in our own minds become the lead character in the movie. From an initial and innocent morbid curiosity to the final soul scarring finale. Unquestionably, anyone leaving this movie with anything less than a dark somber feeling of distaste and the need for a hot shower is more disturbed of an individual than I and should likely be avoided at all costs.

It is a strong movie with good writing which tells it's story and gets it across with crystal clarity to the audience. Nowhere does it get distracted, or confusing. All the actors play their roles sincerely and credibly. Definitely worth the viewing if one is willing to pay the price.

Gary D. Macabre

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