Complete Monster: In this film based on the novel (itself loosely based on a true story), AuntRutherine "Ruth" Chandler takes child abuse to horrifying new levels. Ruth believes that all women are whores, and as such should be treated like animals. When her nieces Susan and Meg move in with her after the deaths of their parents, she subjects Meg to an escalating series of atrocities that include tying her to a post and ordering her sons and some of the neighborhood children to rape her, mutilating her with a blowtorch, and forcibly removing her clitoris, forcing David and Susan to watch as she does. She also punishes Susan, a crippled girl, for her sister's perceived disobedience; she even goes as far as to inappropriately touch her as a means of keeping Meg in line. Manipulative and sadistic, Ruth is an utter nightmare of a mother.
Dueling Works: With An American Crime, as both films were based on the Sylvia Likens murder. The difference was that An American Crime directly adapted the events rather than the loose approach this one took.
Fridge Brilliance: A lot of the discomfort in reading the novel comes from David's inertia. It's very frustrating when no one moves to save Meg, instead standing around and watching. After a while, you start to realize that's exactly what you're doing as a reader. A gentle sort of Take That, Audience!.
The Woobie: Meg and Susan Loughlin go to live with their secluded aunt, Ruth Chandler, after the deaths of their parents. They are subjected to an escalating series of abuse climaxing with Meg getting bound and gagged in the basement, and forced to take punishments reserved for Susan. Meg is beaten, tortured, raped and ultimately given a forced clitorectomy before succumbing from her wounds, while Susan is molested by Ruth one instance of it resulting in her bleeding.