Reviewed by: Russell Emory
Jennifer Lawrence … Elissa
Max Thieriot … Ryan
Elisabeth Shue … Sarah
Gil Bellows … Weaver
Eva Link … Carrie Anne
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A Bigger Boat
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“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
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.