REVIEW: House at the End of the Street (2012)


House at the End of the Street: F

This is a cookie-cutter PG-13 thriller that spends more time emphasizing how cool Jennifer Lawrence’s character is than actually doing anything thrilling. It is like a commercial for Jennifer Lawrence and it is not scary.

Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) is so deep and interesting. There she is, sitting on the hood of a truck wearing a flannel as she strums an acoustic guitar. And hey, there she is playing with keyboards and drum machines and singing enigmatic songs about love. Her mom say that Elissa always “finds the most damaged person around and makes it her mission to fix them”. So she is interesting AND sensitive AND empathetic. The movie reminds you of this with several long scenes that are not suspenseful or plot-driving or any of the ingredients needed for a thriller.

Deep/beautiful/interesting/artistic Elissa and her mom move into a House Not at the End of the Street. Some melancholy eighteen year-old guy lives in the House at the End of the Street. His parents were mysteriously murdered there and he inherited the House at the End of the Street. The movie knows it has to have a back-story. There it is.

The guy has been a kooky, brooding introvert ever since his parents were killed so Elissa latches onto him and makes him one of her “missions” and tries to “fix” him. He is really resistant to the “fixing,” so much of the movie is about this hot, artistic, blond eighteen year-old girl trying to crowbar herself into the life of a scrawny, creepy, unpopular loner. Just like real life, am I right?

It’s characters like these that really make it seem like the film was written by teenagers with ADD who have watched too much Disney Channel.

If you thought maybe that the guy who lives in the House at the End of the Street turning out to be a bit of a homicidal lunatic would be a little predictable, and maybe his kooky brooding is just misdirection written into the film, I have some bad news for you. He is a homicidal lunatic. There is also painfully predictable PG-13 violence and a real lack of scares/gore.

You also have to forgive a lot in this movie. Like people forgetting cell phones exist, cops with dead batteries in their flashlights not calling for back-up, people tied to chairs with tattered strips of t-shirt, and rolls of flaming toilet paper breaking through double-pane glass.

They try to do multiple “twists” at the end but there are so many crammed into a short amount of time that it is laughable and you’ll feel sorry for everyone involved in this waste of time.


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