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Movie Review

House at the End of the Street

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and terror, thematic elements, language, some teen partying and brief drug material.

Reviewed by: Russell Emory
CONTRIBUTOR

Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Suspense Thriller Horror
Length:
1 hr. 41 min.
Year of Release:
2012
USA Release:
September 21, 2012 (wide—2,600+ theaters)
DVD: January 8, 2013
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mother daughter relationship

Featuring: Jennifer LawrenceElissa
Max Thieriot … Ryan
Elisabeth Shue … Sarah
Gil Bellows … Weaver
Eva Link … Carrie Anne
more »
Director: Mark Tonderai
Producer: A Bigger Boat
FilmNation Entertainment
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Distributor: Relativity Media

“Fear reaches out… for the girl next door.”

Typically when I write a review for a movie I like the review to be at least 500 words, but I find it difficult to say 500 words about House at the End of the Street. I figure I can just keep repeating the title of the movie a few times and that will take up my self imposed word quota.

In “House at the End of the Street,” Jennifer Lawrence plays Elissa, a seventeen year old girl whose recently divorced mother, played by Elisabeth Shue, has moved them out to a rural community from their Chicago home. The town seems rather quiet and serene, but the neighbor’s house holds a terrible secret. Years ago the family that lived there was involved in a brutal murder. The parents were murdered by the daughter. The son Ryan, played by Max Theriot, was away at the time at an aunt’s house with which he lived till he was 18 after the murders. Max has moved back much to the dismay of the local residents due to the house lowering their property values. Predictably Elissa and Ryan develop a friendship that becomes romantic and eventually very complicated.

So as not to “spoil” the movie I won’t reveal any more plot details. There are some disturbing images in the film, and there is a scene of teen partying, and one of drug use. Overall, there is nothing in the movie that you would hold up as a moral example. The local police officer defends Ryan from many of the accusations thrown at him by the locals, but, overall, the movie is without moral commentary.

If you pay attention to the trailers the movie comes off as a supernatural thriller along the lines of “The Ring,” but it falls short in the supernatural department. As for violence, it is a middle of the road; the end sequence is pretty intense, but the movie keeps up the suspense by having most of the violence occur off screen leading to the disturbing post act scenes.

Overall, I would recommend that you avoid this movie. I don’t do that because it is a morally reprehensible movie, I say that because it is just not that good. I found myself very bored with the movie as a whole. I found the plot twists added for the sake of adding a plot twist. The performances by the principles were lackluster at best. I guess I expected more from Lawrence and Shue being as thought they are both have been nominated for Oscars in the past, but sadly there was no onscreen chemistry. Their relationship in the movie seemed very manic, one second they were best friends and the next they were at each other’s throats. There was no background on their relationship or Shue’s character’s divorce so the situations were awkward at best.

I was very interested to see how Lawrence would follow up her mega success in “X-Men First Class” and “The Hunger Games,” and was sadly disappointed. This movie felt like it was something that was put on the back burner, but was taken off to capitalize on Lawrence’s rising star. In the end, it was just one big disappointment.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

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Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Good Thriller! Great plot! I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you, but one thing is for sure, and that is that is was worth my money. I was a bit hesitant, at first, considering “would this be the type of film that I would walk out of because it bores me or offends me, or freaks me out that I can’t handle it?” The freak me out part hasn’t happened yet, but none of these things I was considering, I was engrossed, intrigued, and on the edge of my seat. Jumping every so often, as these movies make you, but I really enjoyed it, and I think you will, too. The only things offensive about this movie is that there was a kissing scene which lasted for about 30 seconds (longer than some people may stomach), a few cuss words, a couple of uses of our Lord’s name in vain, and the violence. But I wouldn’t count the violence, that would be like counting the violence in an action movie. But it was good, and Jennifer Lawrence was excellent, as usual! Ages appropriate for “House at the End of the Street” would be 13 and up (like the rating, if they can handle it). God bless!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Paulina, age 19 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—I went to see this movie with my roommate, because we were bored on a Friday night and wanted to see something suspenseful. I was pleasantly surprised by the twist at the end of the movie. I thought they did a good job of concealing the surprise ending, and, towards the end, I was definitely on the edge of my seat! There was very minimal language in the film that I can remember, and it did have some positive elements. The mother mentioned several times that she wanted to start being a better mom. She tried to set boundaries for her daughter, telling her not to be alone with the boy she liked, etc. However, their relationship is somewhat strained, and the daughter acts rebelliously, choosing to ignore her mother’s wishes. Despite this, you can tell that the two really love and care about each other.

There is one somewhat intense kissing scene, but nothing too crazy (as far as sexual innuendo). There are some violent scenes as well, so if you are squeamish about that then I might skip it if I were you. Overall, I liked the film, although it was definitely creepy and scary in parts (I closed my eyes quite a bit), and it’s definitely not a movie you want to go see to be encouraged or inspired… it’s more something you go see to get your blood pumping and enjoy the suspense. So, if you’re in that kind of a mood, I would recommend it. However, it is pretty slow in the beginning and takes a while to develop, so some patience is required on the part of the viewer. This one could very well just be a rental, rather than paying theater prices, but it kept my interest and left me analyzing and pondering long after the film was over.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Nicole, age 27 (USA)
Neutral—It’s really hard for me to decide whether or not I enjoyed “House at the End of the Street.” I had seen the percentage given by Rotten Tomatoes about the film, but ignored it because I have recently become a fan of Jennifer Lawrence and her amazing talent as an actress. Still, I have to say this wasn’t her best work so far. See, the problem is when you have a talented actress like Jennifer Lawrence you walk into a theater saying, “Well the movie can’t be that bad right?” Well it wasn’t. I enjoyed her performance in “House at the End of the Street.” However, it wasn’t enough to carry the film. The film was disjointed in a lot of parts and was fairly predictable, even the frightening moments (I was still scared, but after each occurrence I would say “Yeah, should have seen that one coming.”)

All the other supporting characters weren’t bad in their performances, they just weren’t strong enough. Maybe I’m a little tough on this film. However, I know what Hollywood is capable of because I’ve been to a lot of movies and seen some really great terror/horror movies (like “The Woman in Black”). It’s sad to see that horror movie quality has really depleted over the many years. Perhaps filmmakers are running out of ideas. Who knows? Bottom line? This movie is alright, but don’t expect five star material here.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
Alexander Malsan, age 22 (USA)
Comments from young people
d
Neutral—I went to see this movie the second week it hit theaters for my birthday. I wanted to see it because I am into horror movies and this is the first scary movie my sister actually wanted to see so I decided we have to go see this movie. The swearing was kept mild I thought, (b*tch, d*ck, a**hole, middle finger held up on both hands at one part, etc.) nothing worse than that though. I thought the movie was pretty good. However, I didn’t like the ending very much.

***SPOILER*** (if you have not viewed the movie yet and plan on seeing it, I recommend you don’t read this part or it will ruin the whole movie for you, but if you have seen it and your confused, I do recommend you read this cause it might explain some things). Okay, so the story is about a girl and her mom that move into a house and the guy who lives next door has gone through some really rough times. At the beginning you were meant to believe that his sister fell off the swings and got brain damage and went psychotic and killed their parents. But that’s not how it was… at the end it explains that she did fall off the swing (while her parents were upstairs doing drugs) but she died, and her parents blamed her brother and his punishment was that they made him dress up as a girl and pretend that he was her. Then one day he got so mad at his parents because of his punishment (and the fact that they abused him) that he murdered them.

Years later, he still lives in the house. From what I understand he pretty much kidnaps girls and drugs them so he can keep the memory of his sister alive. At the beginning of the movie you are made to believe he is a sweet, romantic, innocent guy that gets bullied and made fun of. By the end you’ll think he’s a crazy psycho. But even though I thought the twist were completely obvious, it does make sense. If you think about it, how would you feel if you saw your own sister die right in front of you, then have your parents blame you for it and abuse you, and on top of that get extremely bullied, called names, have people destroy your car and almost set your whole house on fire. Oh yeah, and have everyone in the whole town (including adults) think you are a loser and a loner. You would go crazy too. People don’t understand that sometimes, people can’t take it anymore and this is what the result of their actions is ***END SPOILER*** after the movie, it takes a lot of thought to put together the ending.

At first when you see the last minute of the movie, you think “what the heck?” and you think it ruins the whole movie but then you piece it together and it makes sense. I think the lesson of the movie is great but the whole movie was pretty obvious, but there were a few things I didn’t expect to happen. Like the reviewer said, the twists were just added for the sake of having a twist but it wasn’t really if you think about it enough. I did like this movie but do not expect it to be the best movie ever. Just saying though, my sister gets scared easily, and she didn’t think it was too scary.

I’d honestly say if you really wanted to see it, go see it in theaters because on a regular TV, it would probably not be scary.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Austin, age 14 (USA)
Neutral— When I first saw this movie, I already knew the twist, so if I didn’t I would like it as a thriller a lot better. But I must say, she (Jennifer Lawrence) was incredibly stupid; there are a lot of parts where you are just like, “you stupid girl!”. She makes blonds look so bad. P.S.—I am not one. There were a lot of adrenaline parts, and it kept me on the edge of my seat. So when it comes to seeing it, I think you might like it (if you don’t know the twist), but you’ll be frustrated with the stupidity, and disgusted with the mother’s and daughter’s not-so-great morals.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rosey, age 17 (USA)

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