Movie Reviews

‘House at The End of The Street’: A shoddy construction

By Travis WongMovies - 02 November 2012 7:00 PM

‘House at The End of The Street’: A shoddy construction

The best thing about watching 'House at The End of The Street' is seeing Jennifer Lawrence running around in a white tank top

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Rating: 2 stars

In this misguided thriller masquerading as a horror movie, current A-list actress Jennifer Lawrence plays Elissa, the daughter of single mother Sarah, portrayed by Elizabeth Shue. The pair move, not into the house where former killings occurred, but the house next to it. Four years earlier, a teenage girl Carrie Ann murdered her parents in that house, and her moody and withdrawn brother Ryan (Max Thierot) now stays in there. 

The boy next door, however, isn't so normal. Ryan has trapped Carrie Ann, purported to have run away after the murders and becoming the town's urban legend, in the basement. Finding that the guys in the high school just want her body, Elissa develops a liking for Ryan, and as their relationship deepens, his secret gradually emerges.

The movie starts with some potential, and the tension between Sarah and Elissa, which forms an important part of the film, helps anchor it. Things go awry soon after, though, as director Mark Tonderai isn't quite sure what he wants to do with the picture. There is a poorly conceived love story squeezed in, as love develops between the loner Ryan and the unloved spirit Elissa. 

Here's another shot of Jennifer

Things really start to break down in the second half of the movie, as the film takes a turn into typical horror movie territory. You just expect Jennifer Lawrence to show some of the moves she unleashed in The Hunger Games, but she behaves like any other girl in a horror movie, making stupid decisions.

The dialogue is clunky, and the behaviour of the characters is highly questionable. Written by David Louka, who also wrote last year's confounding ‘Dream House’, ‘House at the End of the Street’ is also plagued by the same structural weaknesses. Here too, the great cast is wasted, as Louka tries hard to combine genres of horror, thrillers, drama and teenage romance movies. 

Lawrence was remarkable in the independent hit ‘Winter's Bone’, but you see none of that ability here in her wishy-washy character.  Sadly, Lawrence has more chemistry with her tank top than with Thierot. When the film seemed to suggest Shue might have a thing for Thierot the movie actually seemed interesting. Pity that wasn't the case. 

The movie's big reveal is the most questionable of all, though most audience members would have given up hope on this poorly conceived flick. 

Most likely, Lawrence, Shue and Thierot will want to forget their appearances in this film. The most memorable thing about it is how mediocre it is, considering the star talent involved. 

‘House at The End of The Street opens in theatres 1 November 2012