Scares And Twists Are A Dead 'End' In This Mediocre Thriller
Published: Sunday, September 23, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
You’ve heard of The House of the Devil, and Last House on the Left, and now comes House at the End of the Street. The latter has nothing to do with the formers. They all just deal with a house, and it’s too easy to get one title confused with another. Sorry for confusing you.
The title of the film is House at the End of the Street, so naturally it deals with a house that is located at the end of a street. Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) and her mom Sarah (Elizabeth Shue) move into the house right before the last one at the end of that street somewhere in the woods—already the location is pretty cheesy and cliche, wouldn’t you say? What’s wrong with that last house? Well, apparently a horrible double murder happened there. The daughter went mad and killed her parents and then ran away in the woods. The police assumed her dead, but her body was never found and some say she is still out there in the woods … bum bum bum! Sound scary? Yeah, that’s because it’s not.
House at the End of the Street relies heavily on cheap thrills—the wide-angle shot with the actor standing on one end and then, wait for it, wait for it, boom —something pops up! That happened way too many times for the film to be tastefully done. Or the one where the actor in the scene has his back turned to a room, and the camera takes a close-up shot, and then-boom-something makes him jump. We’ve seen it all before, and yes those tricks do work, but give us something more.
Hollywood has been a big JLaw fan since her Oscar nomination back in 2011 for her role in Winter’s Bone, and when she landed the coveted role of Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games trilogy, her stardom only skyrocketed. Her character of Elissa is mostly flat and not too exciting—she’s your typical high school soft rebel who likes to get her mom upset, sings in a band, and always falls for the bad boys. Only sprinkles of her Katniss attitude can be found.
The bad boy in this film was played by Max Thieriot. When you see him, he’s going to look very familiar, and that’s because he was in the Disney Channel movie Catch That Kid with the then-sweet and innocent Kristen Stewart back in 2004. Thieriot plays Ryan, who lives in the house at the end of the street. His story is a little complicated, so I won’t ruin it for you here.
Behind every rebellious child is a worrisome parent, or at least there should be. In so many of the classic horror films, the one thing that always seems to be missing is the role of the parents. Having a mother figure in the film gave Lawrence’s character a bit more depth, and having that mother played by Shue made everything that much better. It is never clear throughout the film why their relationship is so rocky, however, and that is an aspect that I would have liked to see explored a bit more.
Sometimes horror/thriller films fall into predictable patterns, and when that happens, they become less interesting and most of the time not worthwhile to view. I’m conflicted with this one because yes, there were many cliches and predictable moments in the film, but then again there was a nice twist at the end, and twists are always a good thing with scary movies (or any movie for that matter). But was this final twist enough to elevate the entire movie? I’m leaning more toward a yes, only because I enjoyed watching the film. Even during its slower moments, or its predictable scenes, I didn’t mind them. It still kept me entertained.
If you’re a Jennifer Lawrence fan, this film will most likely convince you that it was scarier than it really was. If you’re looking for a horror film with minimal to no gore, experienced acting, and not too many scares, then House at the End of the Street is your type of movie.