Take some elements from Psycho (minus the chilling brilliance and excellent direction), throw in a little “Jane Eyre” (minus the well crafted plot and beautiful language), and add some formulaic high-school drama. Water it all down, drink up, then baby bird that shit into the open mouths of teeny-boppers everywhere. I’m pretty sure that’s the recipe for House At The End of The Street, starring Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games, duh).
The movie is mediocre at best, and not scary at all. I did jump a total of seven times, but that was either because of some cheap shot camera trick or unnecessarily loud twig crunch. Once it was because the woman behind me screamed unexpectedly. She was a pussy. Personally, I was most scared by the cankles in the opening scene that I was supposed to believe belonged to a 13-year-old girl. It was the close-up of Carrie Anne’s legs that made me shudder, not the matricide that followed. Mostly because it was extremely predictable, and neither bold nor bloody enough. Now apply that last sentence to the whole movie.
I could go over the whole plot, but that’s what IMDB is for. It’s not really worth getting into, either, because the film is not nearly as psychologically chilling as it wants to be. Perverse, yes. Smart? Not really. Now I’m not saying it was awful… just that it was more like delightful romp in a spooky old house with a girl who can’t control her curious impulses and doesn’t give a shit about self-preservation than a good horror film. That’s all.
But since this is a review: Early on, we learn that Elissa, Jennifer Lawrence‘s character, and her mother Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) have moved up and out of what I assume was the hood, and into some bumble-fuck town in Pennsyltucky. I say “the hood” because Elissa alludes to all the gun shots she used to hear on her former block, which is of course in response to her mother’s explanation that they can afford their new home because of the double murders that occurred in the house next door. Thinking about Jennifer Lawrence‘s character as coming from the hood made me think this movie might also be a comedy.
Anyway, turns out that Elissa’s backstory isn’t really that important. Nor are any of the movie’s subplots. Except for the one about the Battle of the Bands. Yeah! Elissa’s a singer, you guys! In a band! This is a very relevant piece of information and extremely integral to the whole story line. It’s just that I can’t figure out why…
Of course, the double murders are important, because if they hadn’t occurred, well, then there’d be no movie. The story is built upon the relationship Elissa forms with neighbor Ryan, played by Max Thieriot. Ryan being the son of the double murder victims. Who still lives in the house in which his parents were killed. By his sister. All of which is totally normal.