Awkward and stagy aren’t a match made in horror heaven!
Screenplay By: Laird Koenig
Directed By: Nicolas Gessner
I love a good stage play, admittedly it’s not my favorite art medium but I can dig a good stage play. There are some movies that are basically a stage play on screen that I like very much, with 2008’s Doubt being the best example. The Little Girl Who Loves Down The Lane is an example of a film that is too stagy for its own good and never overcomes the awkwardness of its stagy theatrics. There may have been a good little horror film, or thriller, and some good performances in The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane but the overwrought staged nature of the film rendered all of those elements moot.
From the first reel Nicolas Gessner tosses his audience into the thick if the story. The exposition and explanations for the situation Rynn finds herself in are saved for much later in the films run time. The approach from Mr. Gessner was an interesting one, but it was one that failed to connect with me. I felt lost for much of The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane. I was able to quickly figure out what was going on so none of the film truly surprised me. But where it mattered most, characters I believed in and cared about, I ended up lost as to why I should care about what I was seeing.
Without any element to anchor the film there ended up not being much except for an awkward mood and atmosphere to The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane. Again, those were rendered moot by the overt stagy nature of Mr. Gessner’s film. He introduces some characters who would have been far more interesting if the actors weren’t reading their lines like they needed to reach the back of a packed theater. The slickness, and nastiness, of Martin Sheen’s Frank Hallet ended up not forming any impact on me because I didn’t for a second buy that his character would exist and that others would act the way they do around him. The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane is so stagy that it lacks the tiniest hint of believability and that is what ultimately damns the film to a failed experiment.
I was looking forward to The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane, but in the end the film left me disappointed and cold. I didn’t expect a lot from the film, but I expected more than I was given. The characters didn’t click for me, the atmosphere was too fake to enrich the film, and the score was too much 1970s porn score to be effective. Most of all I was left shaking my head at the incredibly staged nature of The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane and wondering if the film might have been any good had it been less awkward and more grounded.