Movie Review: “ House at the End of the Street ” – Ugh

Written by Jesse Gelinas October 06, 2012

Jennifer Lawrence in "House at the End of the Street"

I have to stop doing this to myself. I can no longer blame Hollywood for the endless stream of regurgitated sputum that continues to drown us at the cinema. It’s all my fault, guys. I keep telling them it’s alright by going to see these hacks slap a vague title onto a generic plot, strap it to the latest ‘it-girl’ and call it a horror film. I’m pretty sure by now we all know what to expect, so let’s just cut through this crap cake as quickly as possible so we can get on with our lives. “House at the End of the Street” is nothing new.

 Here we go again…

So, we start off with our standard cookie-cutter horror routine. Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) and her recently divorced mother Sarah (the ever-radiant Elizabeth Shue) are looking for a fresh start and so of course they settle down in a small rural town with a dark secret. The house next door is the scene of a grisly murder at the hands of a crazed young woman, who slaughtered her family, leaving her brother Ryan (Max Thieriot) as the only survivor, and inheritor of the house. Max is young, handsome, and interested in Elissa… yes, they have a thing, and yes he turns out to be the real killer. You’ve seen this all before. God, why do we bother?

Okay, let’s start with what might be construed as the film’s positive traits. The acting is relatively decent. Lawrence and Shue are grade-A stars deserving of a better vehicle than this. Reliable Canuck Gil Bellows also serves his purpose. Honestly, the kind of talent these crap-fests always attract astounds me. Who tells these people that starring in a movie like this is a solid career choice? Was it the title that caught their eye? I know it caught mine. The actors seem to kind of meander through the bad writing and terrible plot twists; it’s obvious they know the quality (I use the term loosely) of the material, and aren’t attempting to recreate “Psycho” or anything. Though, to be fair, I’m not sure the director knew that.

ELizabeth Shue & Jennifer Lawrence react to the plot direction of "House at the End of the Street"

 Not enough “Psycho”

The plot itself is horrendous. Not that it is absolutely terrible or unfitting of the genre, or offensive to my delicate sensibilities. The fact is it’s just bad because it’s so obvious that it isn’t even trying to be original or surprising. Every plot point is telegraphed about twenty minutes ahead of time and by the time the final scene comes around, the audience is already on their way out, having experienced the ending shot-for-shot in their minds long before. And I have to say again, the ending was done before and in a much better film: “Psycho”!

The worst transgression here is that the film is marketed as a new breed of horror, and there are absolutely no scares to be found. Not one. The film just sort of plods along expecting you to just jump when it wants you to, but someone forgot to actually insert the scares. An important notice to all ‘horror’ directors, a clever concept and creepy atmosphere can be enough to make a successful horror film… but the concept has to BE clever, and the atmosphere has to BE creepy!

Max Thieriot in "House at the End of the Street"

 Too much “Sleepaway Camp”

All in all, I can’t say I’m surprised, or even disappointed. I knew what I was getting into with this film and so do you. It’s the same rehashed, repackaged, and redelivered slurry Hollywood grinds out every fall, and it’s not getting any easier to swallow. But honestly, someone has to do something about the disservice being done to Hollywood’s fine young actors. Women like Jennifer Lawrence are being exploited every year as punishment for their remarkable talents. You get one teeny tiny Oscar nomination and suddenly they want to toss you into every piece of shit they can squeeze you into. Truly, Hollywood is eating its young, and serving us the regurgitated leftovers, knowing that we’re too weak to fly away from the horror.

My Rating: 4/10

The ridiculously derivative poster for "House at the End of the Street"

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About Jesse Gelinas

After years attempting to escape the Matrix, Jesse has accepted his fate as a writer and Senior Editor. Now that's he finished with his film degree, it gives him something to do while waiting for the machines to get careless.

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