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John’s Horror Corner: The House at the End of the Street (2012)

February 13, 2013

http://blog.welovefilm.co/2012/09/house-at-end-of-street-trailer.html

MY CALL:  Just another Tank Top Horror, and it’s not even worth watching.  Ugh!!  I can’t believe this even got made!  [DWHAT TO WATCH INSTEAD:  Like horror movies with family secrets locked in the basement?  Well here are a few that randomly came to mind:  Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013), Frailty (2001), The Kindred (1987), Evil Dead 2 (1987), and The Evil Dead (1981). None of them are like this movie–especially since I liked them.  SIDEBAR: This is a review of the unrated version.  Hey, remember when “unrated” meant you were in for something awesome?  I wish that happened here.

High schooler Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence; The Hunger Games, Silver Linings Playbook) and her mother Sarah (Elisabeth Shue; Piranha 3D) have moved into a lovely, HUGE new house.  How can they afford the rent?  Well, there may have been a double patricide by hammer next door a few years ago when a young girl went all Amityville on her parents and, according to urban legend, she is alive and has been living in the woods for the four years since the incident.

Elissa is mature and judgy, even resentful, towards her mother; their father-figureless family dynamic seems to have an unusual balance of power.  This control tug-of-war shifts into high gear when Elissa meets Ryan.

http://octobersquad.blogspot.com/2012/09/house-at-end-of-street.html
“Yeah…adults pretty much just don’t get me.”
“Wow, I like totally get you so much right now it’s not even funny.”

Ryan (Max Thieriot; My Soul to Take) is the creepy neighbor kid who lives in the murder house next door.  He’s dark, deep, quiet and sweet; often the guy the girl runs to at the end of the high school angsty teen movie when she realizes her jock boyfriend is a jerk.  We learn very early that Ryan keeps a family secret locked up in the basement.

Because of how this movie was vaguely advertised (perhaps misadvertised) I can’t tell you much more about the plot without being very vague.  So anyway, “something” happens that places Elissa in danger and Ryan wrestles his conscience when weighing his ties to the house and protecting Elissa.  Meanwhile, we learn more about Ryan, his family history, and his secrets.

http://grimmreviewz.blogspot.com/2012/10/house-at-end-of-street-2012.html
Looks scary, right?  It isn’t.

http://grimmreviewz.blogspot.com/2012/10/house-at-end-of-street-2012.html
Sweaty, scared and scantily tank-topped.  Typical.

http://grimmreviewz.blogspot.com/2012/10/house-at-end-of-street-2012.html
Typical Tank Top Horror shot.

Jennifer Lawrence does a decent job, but as this strong character she is no Katniss and the writing isn’t The Hunger Games.  Maybe Lawrence did all she could with her horror heroine dialogue, but I was thoroughly unimpressed with the story.  The same goes for Max Theriot, who strikes me as a poor man’s Cam Gigandet without any hair product, gym membership and man-scaping.  I’m not being judgmental here.  When it comes to horror I’m never expecting or looking for originality.  I just want a serviceable plot (even if it’s one I’ve seen 50 times), maybe a few characters I give a damn about, some sense of dread or shock or tension or humor, entertaining kills and maybe, although this might be reaching, but maybe a neat twist or a grinningly cliché ending.  Instead I got a poorly staged plot, characters who frustrated me, no scares or laughs or fun kills, and an awful ending that is capable of nothing more than eliciting disappointed eye-rolls.

I’m going to say something and I want you to know that I really, REALLY thought about it before writing it.  Not one single thing about this movie was good  except for a few gorgeous shots of the woods and fooling Jennifer Lawrence into starring in this.

Don’t see this movie.  Just zip past it at your local RedBox and never look back.

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