• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane

TITLE: The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane

YEAR: 1976

GENRE: Horror and Drama

Much to the disbelief of some people, there is such a thing as a classy horror film. Most people would say that the more elegant horror films would reside back in the days of the original Frankenstein or Dracula in the 1930’s, but periodically a film does arrive that has an artistic flair and at the same time will make some type of social or political statement at the same time. One that comes to mind is American Psycho, which spoke out about the evils of big business and how corporate executives could exonerate themselves from any sin including murder. The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane would be another entry in this limited genre, a film that deals with the issue of child innocence and the pitfalls of youth issues in the 1970’s.

Rynn (played by Jodie Foster) is a 13-year-old girl who is living on her own after her writer father dies.  Rynn continually tells people that her father is away on business or some other excuse, which does not wash with local woman Mrs. Hallet (Alexis Smith). When she is accidentally killed at Rynn’s house the young lady hides the woman in her cellar. Rynn meets a handicapped boy named Mario (Scott Jacoby) and he helps her cover up the death by removing Mrs. Hallet’s car off Rynn’s property and burying the body in the back yard. Mrs. Hallet’s son Frank (Martin Sheen) has interest in Rynn as well, but more because he is a pedophile and he sees her as easy prey. However, Rynn is more sophisticated than Frank suspects and she will do anything to cover up her secrets.

The first aspect that hits you with The Little Girl That Lives Down The Lane is the amazing acting ability of a very young Jodie Foster. This film was made shortly after her epic performance in Taxi Driver and it is obvious why she became one of the better actresses of the past fifty years as Foster is as creepy in this film as any child actor in movie history. Sheen also pulls off a commendable performance as the creepy older guy trying to get into the pants of a young teen. Both add a great deal to the film which deals with the issue of how society back in the 1970’s did not pay much attention to children in need like today; this is especially true when a police officer (Mort Shuman) is fooled by an obvious charade of Mario’ when he pretends to be Rynn’s father complete with terrible make-up. The production values of this film are super and the atmosphere created is disturbing which adds a great element to the atmosphere. One aspect that is especially disturbing is a teen love scene between Rynn and Mario complete with full rear nudity and a chest shot of Foster which surely would not be part of any film today considering the actors’ ages (Foster was only 15 when this was shot). This would rule out any viewers who may see this as nothing more than child pornography, but it more conveys the innocence of the twosome and Rynn’s desperation for any kind of companionship and affection which many teen girls could relate. This is not a kid film by any stretch mostly due to the disturbing content, but it does give its theme a firm foundation in which to create discussion about an issue that was brought to light by John Walsh of “America’s Most Wanted” when his son was kidnapped and murdered in the 1980’s.

Jodie Foster has been public that she is not proud of doing this film, but she should reconsider her opinion. The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane is an interesting look at child issues of the time and serves as a time capsule when it was assumed that children were all appropriately cared for and loved. This is not a horror film in the sense of some scare jumping out of the bushes, but the obviously disturbed nature of Rynn makes this a more true to life horror fest. This art film will not appeal to many horror fans because of the limited bloodshed and the lack of a true boogeyman in the darkness, but more mature fans will see the disturbance in Rynn’s soul and shudder at society’s failure against this teenager and enjoy the twisted ride.

* * * 1/2

–Mark

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