Thursday, April 24, 2008
The Girl Next Door
Hey there. Wow. This movie is just insane and what makes it even more unbelievable is that it is based on a true story! It's told via David's view so only God knows what else when on in there when he wasn't there. Some of the shots in this film just made me cringe... Especially the one of Meg, when you get a frontal view of her hanging. Just straight out chilling...
The story starts off with David Moran saving the life of a homeless guy who just got run over by a van. He administers CPR and the guy lives. He then goes home, with his narrative, speaking of pain. And how one of his wives didn't know what pain is. He then rolls out a water color painting and stares it...
Take us back to the 50's, David is a boy, out by the creek catching crayfish. Some after Megan is introduced and hangs out with David. They start their friendship and soon discover that they are neighbors. Meg and her sister, Susan, are staying with the Chandlers. Their parents were in a car accident killing them both. David is good friends with the Chandlers and frequently visits their house. He and the boys decide to head off the carnival. While there, he runs into Meg and they share a ride on the Ferris wheel. It's pretty obvious at this point that there are mutual feelings between the two.
Ruth Chandler is first introduced while David is hanging out at the Chandler's house. It is pretty clear from the start that there is something wrong with the woman. There was this great shot of her that emphasises her piercing, cold blue eyes that just sent chills down my spine. Anyways, she offers the boys beer and smokes heavily in front of them. She mentions the carnival and states that it's not what it used to be because it doesn't include the freak show and "hoochie coochie" girls. Since the boys don't know what that is, she explains to them, in explicit and provocative ways, what the girls are. Meg soon walks in and Ruth tells the boys to finish their beers so that they don't miss the carnival. She implies that Meg is fat on their way out.
Next scene shows David buying a burger and Meg coming from behind asking to borrow money, since she has not eaten for days. She then tells David that it's because Ruth said she's fat. He tells her that she was probably just kidding since she's just like, "one of the guys". Meg tells her that she's different around her. She then tells him how she loved to paint, even though she didn't think she was good. David suggests she paint for Ruth. Meg detests, so then David asks her to paint for him. She agrees and delivers her painting to him at his house (same painting that is shown in the beginning of the film)
David decides to give the painting to Ruth saying that it's from Meg but Ruth sees right through his plan. She then gives her boys a "lesson" on how girls are "easy, dumb, and suckers." Explicitly detailing to the boys how girls only want one thing and if a boy gives something to a girl, then a girl will do anything for the boy. She then asks David if the painting was all he received from Meg. He says yeah. This scene hints at what may be Ruth's problem. While giving her lesson, and practically calling Meg a slut, Ruth recounts of how she was going to be rich with her husband but then he left her. Causing her to be strong for her boys. This may very well be why she dislikes girls and is more like, "one of the boys".
Ruth also gives the boys lessons on femininity, when Meg did not want to burn down these things hanging by the trees and another on connivance, when the boys are tickling her and when they didn't stop, she accidentally strikes one on the face. When Ruth is told, Ruth punishes Susan for not stopping Meg. Bare in mind, Susan has leg braces and cannot walk with out crutches. Ruth then pulls Susan's undies off and strikes her several times while Meg is held by the boys. David, it being the first time he witnesses this, is told by Ruth to keep quiet because it's a domestic dispute and those types of disputes are kept quiet.
Meg tells a policeman about the incident, with one of the boys watching her. When Ruth finds out, all hell breaks loose. She invites David over so that he can hear that she's scared of no man and that a cop will not save Meg and Susan. She sends them all away so that she can think.
David is then asked to spend the night and while at the Chandler's, he finds that the family has hung Meg by her arms in the basement. He's in disbelief but Ruth is allowing her boys to do as they please and as they torture Meg, the eldest boy strips her of clothes. Blindfolded and gagged, the terrified Meg is defenseless against the Chandlers. Ruth then walks up to Meg and tells her that if she doesn't get the "confessions" that the boys ask for, then she'll just have to go to the other sister to get them. The only thing that Ruth objects is that the boys touch her naked, since she says that Meg is a dirty slut.
The boys head back downstairs since it was their first time seeing a girl naked "down there" and wanted to get a closer peek. They give Meg water and tell her that if she screams she's gonna "get it" but because the boys were not supposed to be there to begin with, Meg refuses and threatens to tell Ruth they were down there. They leave, but before they do, David eases the straps on Meg so that she's not hanging as much.
More visits to the basement shows that the neighborhood kids now know of Meg and started punching her around or cutting her for fun. It's eating David up inside. He feels powerless to do anything and you can see the emotions he goes through when he can't sleep or he attempts to tell him mother of what is going on. David, not being able to stand it anymore, sneaks into the basement and hands Meg a pocket knife. Tells her that he'll leave the door open for her that she should just run and that he'll look after Susan to make sure she's ok. He also tells her that he'll hide some money for her by the creek so that she'll have some money. David stays up most of the night waiting for Meg to leave and when that doesn't happen, he checks the spot where the money was it see if it's still there. It is.
He then goes to the basement, where the neighborhood kids and Ruth are witnessing Ruth's oldest boy rape Meg. David, wanting to leave, is made to stay and Ruth says who wants to be next to "fuck the slut". She doesn't want her youngest boy to be next cause she says it's like incest. He'll be swimming in his brother's juices. After David struggles to free himself, Ruth decides to give another lesson. She says how girls are only good for sex and since Meg is a slut, she should be branded so. She then craves out "I fuck. Fuck me" on Meg's stomach with a burning bobby pin so that no man would want her. But then she thinks, what if she still wants him? And looks over to David. She then proceeds to tell the kids that she needs to take all of Meg's pleasures away so that she'll learn her lesson. She then pulls out a torch, and burns off Meg's clitoris. Gruesome stuff... Especially knowing that this is all based on true life events...
David then wakes up in the middle of the basement floor, strapped and bonded. He unties himself and finds Susan sitting with Meg. Meg bloodied and bruised. Susan blames herself for Meg's pain. Meg tried to escape but would not leave Susan behind. She got caught because of her. She also lets him know that Ruth used to go to her room and "touch" her and that when Meg found out is when Ruth began to really punish Meg. David assures Susan that he doesn't hate her and begins to think of a way out. He packs lint and fireworks in a bucket and lights it on fire. Smoke fills the house and the alarms go off. Ruth rushes in the basement and the moment she steps in, David hits her in the head with Susan's crutches. He kills her. Ruth's boy then pounces on David, pulls a knife and is ready to slice his neck, when a police office comes in and stops him. David goes over to Meg, lies next to her and they talk to each other. David assuring her that all will be ok. Moments later, Meg dies.
Back to older David, still looking at the painting. He speaks of how Meg taught him how actions speak more than anything else and that she'll always be with him. The last shot is David, back at the creek, looking into the water, next to his reflection is a reflection of Meg.
I don't know how people can do this to children. You could tell there was something wrong with Ruth. Like the beer and smoking, not to mention the provocative and vulgar language around the kids, wasn't enough... but her eyes told the story. Casting did an awesome job on this and Ruth made this haunting tale really stand out. Even now, I feel little distraught over the actions that she took. I mean, she allowed her boy to rape her and then coolly asks, who wants next? To be honest with you, it felt good to see David whack her in the face. A small pleasure in this film full of unmentionable nightmares.
Careful with that crazy aunt you're always making fun of... She may actually be, well... crazy. Until then, later.