The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

Don’t irritate Jodie Foster.

Or at least don’t chafe the quietly-dangerous teen she plays in this largely-unsung thriller, one of five films she made in 1976.

While not as well-known as Taxi Driver, Bugsy Malone, or Freaky Friday, which also hit theaters that year, Foster’s work as Rynn is, as always, impeccable.

The best actress of my lifetime rules her roost in rural Maine.

She has a father, though he’s AWOL, and anyone who questions her too strongly gets a nasty response.

Enter creepy Martin Sheen and ramp up the suspense.

But, whatever you do, stay out the basement. Just sayin’.

Orphan

The girl ain’t right.

While we might not know the exact why until late in the film — and heavens to Betsy, I’m not spoiling one of the great bat-guano twists of all-time — it’s fairly obvious Esther has some issues.

A nine-year-old Russian girl adopted by an American family dealing with tragic loss, she’s moody, resentful, and prone to acts of violence.

And that’s on her good days.

New parents Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard think they have it under control, but that’s not the case.

Things are about to get really loopy, and, if you know me, I love loopy.