I love horror movies, so it seems fitting that I chose to review the new suspense thriller “House at the End of the Street,” starring Jennifer Lawrence, Max Thieriot, and Elisabeth Shue.
As with all horror movies nowadays, “House at the End of the Street” proved to be a nice blend of mediocre writing, slow to nonexistent character development, awkward slices of suburban life and tense, jumpy scare tactics. It follows Elissa, played by Jennifer Lawrence, and her mom Sarah, played by Elisabeth Shue, as they move to a new town from the inner city streets of Chicago. They move in next to the house at the end of their street, where a girl murdered her parents.
We come to find that the girl’s brother Ryan, played by Max Thieriot, is still living in the house where his parents were murdered. Ryan is shunned by the townspeople for he is seen as somewhat of a freak. Elissa, who accepts a ride home from Ryan on a rainy night, decides to give Ryan the benefit of the doubt. Eventually Elissa and Ryan become romantically involved, against her mother’s wishes. As the plot thickens, chaos ensues.
The rest of the plot outline is more or less “by the book” as far as scary movies go, so I won’t bore you with the details. However, the double twist will keep you on the edge of your seat. The initial plot twist might seem fairly predictable to those versed in classic horror movie themes, but I think it’s safe to say that everyone will be pleasantly surprised by the double twist that this movie delivers.
High-quality acting is never something that should be expected in a horror movie. With that said, Lawrence’s performance was satisfactory. She played her role as well as anyone could have. Lawrence’s character is a singer, and I was once again pleasantly surprised to see that she can in fact sing. Fortunately Lawrence, who already has “The Hunger Games” under her belt, isn’t trying to break into the movie business by doing cheap horror movies Jennifer Aniston in “Leprechaun,” for example.
Shue’s performance as a worried, paranoid mother was darker but quite similar to her breakthrough role in the ‘80s hit, “Adventures in Babysitting.” She played the role convincingly enough and ended up being more badass than she initially seemed. Thieriot’s performance was decent. He wins you over with his quiet charm and sad puppy dog eyes. You can’t help but have sympathy for him.
Besides the name of the movie being too long — I almost need my inhaler to get it all out — there was nothing else really wrong with it. In fact, I was fairly impressed. From the title, it is definitely pulling from Wes Craven’s classic 1972 thriller, “The Last House on the Left,” to help garner buzz. It also had many echoing aspects from some classic, and not so classic, horror movies from the past such as “Psycho” and “Sleepaway Camp.” One thing I will say for this movie is that some interesting camera techniques were used that very much added to the intensity.
The predictability of the plot wasn’t too big a disappointment. We’ve long since passed the days where plot is an integral part of the horror movie process — Alfred Hitchcock had that one on lockdown. All plots need now are scream queens and creep factors, which this movie had in abundance. The movie makes no leaping strides in its genre, but instead serves its purpose as an on-the-edge-of-your-seat scary movie with a seemingly transparent plot that will give you the adrenaline rush you need. It’s a nice change from the recent string of crappy scary movies that have been coming out lately.
Overall, it was a good movie in a really terrible way, like any good scary movie should be. If you like jumpy horror movies that make you scream and cling to the arm of the person sitting next to you, then I would wholeheartedly suggest that you see this flick. It’s worth it.