Despite excellent cast with Jennifer Lawrence/Elizabeth Shue THE HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET leaves much to be desired
MOVIE REVIEW: THE HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET
by: Dave Harlequin
Just in time for Halloween season, Hollywood is starting to bring out the horror hits in a huge way for moviegoers of all ages to enjoy some scares and chills. After the box office success of such films as the “Saw” series in past Octobers, and the more recent success of other fright flicks like “The Cabin in the Woods,” it’s no surprise that all of the major movie studios are looking for the ‘next thing’ in big-budget horror.
FilmNation Entertainment/Relativity Media’s new feature “The House at the End of the Street,” which is currently in theatres everywhere, is no exception.
At first glance, “The House at the End of the Street” touts a highly impressive cast, including Oscar nominees Jennifer Lawrence (“The Hunger Games,” “Winter’s Bone,” “X-Men: First Class”) and Elizabeth Shue (“Leaving Las Vegas,” “Back to the Future Parts II & III”), but also looks a little too much like “every other horror movie about a creepy house” out there. While a lot of times a bad first impression might just be a misunderstanding, unfortunately, “The House at the End of the Street” is exactly what it looks like.
The story follows Elissa Cassidy (Lawrence) and her newly divorced mother, Sarah (Shue) who move from Chicago to a small, upscale town in Pennsylvania seeking a fresh start. After moving into the house of their dreams for an unbelievably low price, they come to find out that the house was so cheap because of a horrible double-homicide that took place at the house next door (you know, the house at the end of the street) a few years earlier.
Their new neighbors reluctantly tell them the story of how a young girl named Carrie-Ann brutally murdered her parents, and disappeared into the woods, leaving only her brother Ryan as the sole-survivor. The neighbors go on to explain that while they never found Carrie-Ann’s body, she is believed to have drowned in the nearby dam. Ryan now lives alone in the abandoned-looking house, and is hated and feared by most everyone in the town.
Most of you probably see where this is going… did Carrie-Ann really die out in the woods after she disappeared? Is she back from the dead to wreak more havoc? Is Ryan really the reclusive psychopath the town believes him to be? And who is really to blame for all of the strange and unusual events that suddenly begin to take place all around the newly moved-in family?
If you’re thinking this sounds exactly like your stereotypical Hollywood horror, you’re right. It’s a by-the-numbers horror movie script — new family moves to a creepy town with a sinister secret, strange things start to happen, people start dying, a handful of telegraphed jump scares, final girl wears tank top and saves day — or so she thinks — crazy twist ending, done.
I honestly wish I could say this film wasn’t exactly that, but it is. The plot twists are very well executed, but also rather telegraphed, not to mention pretty blatant rip-offs of classic horror films like “Sleepaway Camp” and “Psycho,” and while the cast is excellent and puts on very believable performances, they’re just not enough to overcome such a generic script.
Overall, “The House at the End of the Street” is just another cookie-cutter house in an already overcrowded neighborhood of horror house movies. While the film has a great cast and is rather well produced, there just isn’t anything new, original, or remotely exciting going on here. Simply put, it’s just another recycled cliché PG13 horror, and (in my opinion) a dead waste of money. So if you were looking for a good scary movie to go see this fall, I’d recommend picking something other than this one. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty others to choose from.
I’ll give it one thing- you really shouldn’t go near this house. 3.5 out of 10
Dave Harlequin is a professional freelance journalist and Editor in Chief of Stiff Magazine, a bi-monthly horror culture & entertainment publication available internationally in print/digital formats through Amazon Publishing. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors for North Carolina’s Modern Film Fest, the Awards Committee for the FrightMeter Horror Film Awards, and is the Programming Coordinator for the annual multi-genre fandom convention MonsterCon in Greenville, SC. For more info on Dave and Stiff Magazine, please visit www.stiffmag.com