4/4/12

Blood Capsule #10

THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE (1976)

This film is just as cryptic and tight-lipped as its 13-year-old point of convergence. On the surface, it manifests the criterion of a glum, overcast tale of the supernatural. One look at the poster nearly fried my horror barometer, and it's a trustworthy gauge of a picture's inherent "spookanymity." I like that word. I'm going to start using it. At any rate, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane is not what it appears to be. Since I wouldn't dare spoil the script's furtive susurrations, I'll stick to a vague synopsis that doesn't stray too far from the plot summary on the back of the DVD. A tenderfoot Jodie Foster plays Rynn, a quiet girl who lives by her lonesome. What's the catch? The townspeople are led to believe that she lives with her father.

If you ask Rynn, dear ol' Dad is never available. He's either sleeping, working intently in his study or keeping busy out of state. Meddlesome nearby residents (a frigid cunt and her pedophile son) are growing suspicious. They don't take her concessions at face value, and as it turns out, their misgivings are justified. Where is Rynn's father? For that matter, where is her mother? And what is she hiding in the cellar? If you're intrigued, you'll probably dig this flick. Foster's performance is outstanding, and Martin Sheen is believable as a slatternly pervert. This is a perfect example of 70's suspense. The violence is muted, the exposition is driven by dialogue and the pacing is painstakingly systematic (in a good way).

Certain scenes are uncomfortable, but that's because they're realistic. If you haven't seen The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, I would advise acquiring it with a quickness. Whatever you decide to do, don't expect a full-scale bloodbath.

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