Being the horror movie buff that I am, I went to the movies with the guys to go see House at the End of the Street. When I first looked at the trailer on tv and online it looked primarily like a supernatural styled horror movie however I was both disappointed and surprised at what I did see.
House at the End of the Street follows a mother played by Elizabeth Shue and her daughter played by Jennifer Lawrence (of the now Hunger Games fame) as they move into a house in order to start their lives anew. The movie however opens up with a murder of two parents by their daughter and years later the house long considered off limits by townsfolk is now the neighbor of Elizabeth Shue and Jennifer Lawrence’s home.The house of the murders is occupied by the parents son and eventually his fate becomes entwined with Jennifer Lawrence’s character as she ends up playing a white knight to his brooding solitary character.
Eventually what you think will be a supernatural type of movie ends up being totally psychological but nothing too profound. Some parts will have you wondering with tiny hints placed here and there to make you question things with the eventual reveal at the climax.
I found a lack of supernatural aspect of the film to be a bit disappointing as the psychological aspects of the movie seem very much repetitive of other movies. It does have some decent scares as the audience jumped at a few parts but those parts were spaced out leaving the film to rest on the shoulders on simply being character driven.
We don’t get much in the way of background information on the main characters aside from the father is out of the picture. Is he dead? Was it a divorce? Nothing is explicitly mentioned and the mother is just learning to be a mom. We are led to believe there is some sort of wild past but nothing more. The daughter comes off as somewhat mellow but pushy when it comes to interacting with males. While they may have attempted to play Jennifer Lawrence’s character off as strong she comes off as slightly unlikeable. You honestly feel a bit more sympathy for the overbearing mother who is discovering how to parent her child again.
Max Thieriot’s portrayal as the brooding neighbor outcast is the most convincing of the performances. Relegated to being an outcast in the town by a bunch of snobs who blame his family incident for declining their property evaluations he does a solid job however it’s not exactly that demanding either. And yes, everyone seem’s to be pissed off at him for this reason primarily. His family history is considered secondary.
The rest of the acting is rather two dimensional and wooden. You have nice rich kid who is suddenly the biggest douche on the planet, a naive police officer, snobby neighbors galore and some who play friends to Jennifer Lawrence’s character. But this is where the movie mostly rests upon is the interactions of all these character in building up this supposed black stain on the community being the murders of these two parents. It falls terribly short in this regard and comes off as a missed opportunity.
For those liking any kind of gore in your horror movie you will be terribly disappointed as there is nothing at all to see. It’s very tame however there is some gigantic leaps of logic at the end of the movie that those buff’s out there will probably come out insulted.
House at the End of the Street has a lot of potential to be something more then it is even staying on it’s psychological horror theme. It has moments of great concepts but nothing is ever truly fleshed out. The characters never have any true depth and there are seeds that could have been explored further. With all that being said I wish I could recommend this movie to be seen in your local cinema however I wholeheartedly recommend that it simply becomes a rental option for you. You will be less disappointed that way for one and really that’s all it’s worth. It’s enjoyable but nothing more.