Jennifer Lawrence is not only an Academy Award-nominated actress, but she’s the star in one of the biggest new franchises – The Hunger Games. Seeing her in a PG-13 thriller like this conveys the notion that House at the End of the Street may be better than it looks, that it just might have a few tricks up its sleeves. Upon watching the movie, I quickly discovered that is not the case. Not even close. Instead, House at the End of the Street is just another generic “scary” movie that just might happen to grab teenage audiences because it stars Katniss. It literally feels like a direct-to-home video horror movie that’s only getting a theatrical release because of Lawrence’s now-familiar face.
Elissa (Lawrence) is the love-child of a famous rocker and a once-slutty teenager (Elisabeth Shue). As stereotypes go, her parents are no longer together. For a reason that’s never revealed to the audience, Elissa is moving away from her dad to a rural town in the mountains of WhoKnowsWhere. We are told that they typically wouldn’t be able to afford the rent of a home as nice as the one that they’ve landed (despite Elissa’s mother being a doctor), but because a young girl murdered her parents in the “house at the end of the street,” property values have dropped. A creepy vibe runs through the neighborhood, one that’s only made worse when they learn that the sole survivor in the family – the twenty-something son – still lives in the house that his parents were slaughtered in … all by his lonesome.
Her mother hops on the creeped-out bandwagon, charging her daughter to stay away from him – but being a bit of a rebel and one who is always trying to “fix” others, Elissa sets her sights on making him her new “project,” trying and heal his fragile and picked-on soul. She should have listened to her mother.
The first hour of House at the End of the Street is completely wasted. Nothing happens. Not a thing. Little moments of random conflict arise just so that a loud score can manipulate your heartbeat into rising. The movie itself isn’t capable of doing it, so the music has to. The final act of the movie introduces a twist that’s visible from the get-go and it’s filled with violence – smashing, punching, slapping, bludgeoning, stabbing, shooting – but it goes on … and on … and on.
I really like Jennifer Lawrence, but House at the End of the Street is unbearable. I’d rather be chloroformed than have to watch it again. There are plenty of tense movies out there. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that House at the End of the Street might be one.
Photo credit: Relativity Media