my review of the Jack Ketchum film from 2007:
This movie is the one of the worst pieces of poorly acted garbage I have ever seen. Blanche Baker gives a performance that can only be described as "camp." I feel bad that it is based on the true story of Sylvia Likens. She deserved better than to have her tortures reduced to such a mess. At no time is it believable. This is because Blanche Baker appears absurd, a parody of the real criminal. This film makes "An American Crime" look like a masterpiece on the level of "Citizen Kane." I am now looking at Tommy O'Haver's film in a new light. "The Girl Next Door" is a disgrace.... I cannot even waste my finger energy on such an imbecilic waste of celluloid.
And you do not see any build up to a "mob mentality." You just see child actors who cannot act and they just stand there watching Blanche Baker camp it up. Then they go through the motions of kid actors pretending to torture a victim. This film could have been directed by Ed Wood.
addendum: I cannot compare which film is more brutal (this or "An American Crime") because in TGND the torture scenes are acted so badly. You have to believe what you are seeing in a good film, and I just never believed these actors. TGND is a classic example of poor filmmaking.