‘House at the End of the Street’ Movie Review
I have to wonder…if Jennifer Lawrence had known she would eventually land one of the most coveted roles of the new century (Katniss Everdeen), would she have chosen to make House at the End of the Street? Or was it a case of the script being better than the finished product? It’s certainly happened before and it’s usually the reason why great actors end up in borderline-B movies.
The easiest way to describe the new film from director Mark Tonderai is to say that it’s a PG-13 scary movie. That should tell you everything you need to know. It isn’t scary enough to earn an R and there’s nothing within the film that a 13 year-old couldn’t handle.
Lawrence plays Elissa, a teen who, with her mom, Sarah (Elisabeth Shue), moves into a country home that happens to be next door to a house that saw a grisly double homicide. A girl named Carrie Ann went crazy and killed her parents, before disappearing into the woods. Left behind was a brother, Ryan (Max Thieriot), who chose to keep living in the house. Ryan is the neighborhood pariah, but Elissa immediately befriends him and even starts falling for him when she hears the sad story of his life.
But Ryan has secrets, a lot of secrets, most importantly the fact that he’s hiding his crazy sister in a locked room underneath the house, a room she seems determined to escape. As he and Elissa grow closer, the more she finds herself in danger.
I will say that the twist in the story is a good one, but it’s very, very predictable. I figured it out about twenty minutes before it was revealed, as will anyone who’s paying attention. The highlight of the entire movie has to be Jennifer Lawrence. She can make even bad dialogue sound natural. The girl is gifted, no doubt, because some of the material in the movie is laughable, and not in a good way. In fact, there was quite of bit of snickering in the theatre, but it was usually during the parts that were supposed to be laced with tension.
This is definitely a film for pre-teens who want to see a scary movie, but don’t have the guts to sneak into something rated R. There are the usual shocks and tricks meant to make the audience jump, but if you pay attention to the music, you’ll know exactly when to brace yourself for a loud noise. And try not to label Lawrence as the typical dumb blonde in a horror film, who investigates every weird noise. When she dyed her hair for The Hunger Games and turned into a bad-ass, she more than made up for this role.
House at the End of the Street opens nationwide on Friday, September 21st.