Release Date: September 21, 2012
Director: Mark Tonderai
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue, Max Thieriot
Runtime: 101 min
Tagline: Fear reaches out… for the girl next door.
It saddens me that my favourite part of this was the Argo trailer before the movie…
Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) and her mother Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) have just moved out to the country. They are able to rent their home for such a low price because of the gruesome events that took place four years ago down the street. A small girl, Carrie-Anne, killed her parents in the middle of the night and it is believed she later drowned that evening, but her body was never recovered. The surviving son, Ryan (Max Thieriot), still lives in the house as a way to hold onto a memory of his parents. He was actually at a senile Aunt’s house during the time of the murders. Elissa soon strikes up a relationship with Ryan, and learns that the local horror story is far from over.
I liked the concept, but at times it really just bore me and lost my attention. Jennifer Lawrence is good in her role, as much as she can be for a horror film. The performances aren’t that special, but some characters are effectively creepy.
The execution of the film is poor and it feels dragged out in some spots. The scares are pretty good, but some are far between. The character of Ryan is pretty interesting, he’s living at a house where his parents were murdered as a way to hold onto them – despite the actual horrific memory it really is. His character is nonetheless well developed, even though some questions for his character are unanswered by the end of it all. His character is really the only one they spent a lot of time developing, so all of the others were pretty forgettable. Especially Lawrence’s character, she’s just another dumb horror girl protagonist.
The country setting was pretty nice, but average for the whole local town legend horror killer story type-thing. It was actually filmed here in my hometown of Ottawa, Ontario, but it really didn’t look like it. It’s sort of cool either way.
The twist was pretty good, what’s a good horror movie without a decent twist? The twist is pretty pleasant and shocking at the time, but as the film drags on, it just gets more and more ridiculous. It does make for a fairly memorable ending though.
The camerawork really felt eye-straining in areas. Especially when some of the shots were seen from the point of view of one of the primary characters – the visuals really hurt my eyes and the colors and the shakiness of the camera were really quite irritating. I mean it was unique camerawork in some areas, but all of it didn’t exactly work out in the film’s favour.
Lawrence’s character really does all of the things you’re not supposed to do in a horror movie, but really which horror protagonist doesn’t? They’re written to be stupid so they can lengthen the film and torture me even more!
I give props to Jonathan Mostow for coming up with the cool story, but David Loucka didn’t write the best screenplay I’ve seen.
Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue, Max Thieriot, Gil Bellows, Eva Link, Allie MacDonald and Nolan Gerard Funk star in this film. Oh, and Joy Tanner, the mother from that Family channel show Life with Derek.
House at the End of the Street (boy, that’s a mouthful) is a great concept and story that got butchered with a poor screenplay and lousy execution. The twist is pleasant and lame, and the film overstayed its welcome for me. The whole visuals and trying-to-scare-you-but-it-doesn’t-really-work situations made it lame in some areas. Watch it if you’re really interested. It’s generally a decent horror experience that doesn’t offer a lot of memorable material, so you won’t miss much of any cinema chatter if you skip this one.
– Daniel Prinn