Saturday, October 27, 2012

House At The End Of The Street (2012)

**This review contains spoilers**

Divorced and trying to start a new life, Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) and her daughter, Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) move to a small and quiet town. The snobbish behavior and cynicism from their new neighbors disgusts Elissa and Sarah, so they decide to keep to themselves, but Elissa shows some interest in Ryan Jacobson (Max Thieriot). Struggling to move on after his parent’s tragic death and Carrie Anne’s (Ryan’s younger sister) mysterious disappearance, Ryan lives in his childhood home alone, but as the new and understanding neighbor, Elissa befriends him. Eventually, Elissa develops feelings for Ryan, but the bizarre discovery of a wild and vicious girl changes everything.

Sorry, but ONE true jump scare isn’t enough, and director Mark Tonderai’s style is very bland. I enjoyed the suspenseful finale, but overall, House At The End Of The Street is horribly boring.

Jennifer Lawrence and Elisabeth Shue deliver a pair of solid performances, but the rest of the cast is mediocre at best, and the weak dialogue didn’t help anything.

For the most part, House At The End Of The Street features a very predictable and straightforward story, but there’s a nice twist at the end.

Okay, so we’re in the final moments, and Elissa protects Ryan from a group of angry bullies, who tried to burn down his house. Suspecting something fishy, Elissa searches through the garbage for clues. Elissa immediately panics after discovering a box of contact lenses, but Ryan captures her, and Elissa becomes a hostage. Frightened and tied up in the basement, Elissa finally learns the dark secret: Ryan’s parents weren’t murdered years go. Instead, his younger sister, Carrie Anne, died during an accident on a swing set. Ryan’s abusive parents forced him to look and act like Carrie Anne for the duration of his childhood life, becoming more strict during Carrie Anne’s “birthday parties.”  Trying to fill the void of his dead sister, Ryan continued to kidnap Carrie Anne look-a-likes, while holding them hostage in his basement. And if they didn’t fit the exact profile, Ryan would use anything (i.e. the contact lenses) to transform his victims into the perfect Carrie Anne imitation.

You know something, I’ll give House At The End Of The Street credit for this twist. Yes, it was genuinely shocking, and the “Ryan is the real psycho twist” added a much needed spark of intrigue for the lame story. Still, the final twist did have a strong too little, too late feeling. This twist wasn’t enough, because House At The End Of The Street had already bored me to death, and for me, nothing could save this film.

House At The End Of The Street is a boring and generic horror film. The story develops at an unbearable slow pace, and the lone jump scare isn’t something to remember. Jennifer Lawrence and Elisabeth Shue tried to save this one, but they couldn’t overcome a generic story, bland directing, and awful dialogue.

Final Rating: 1/10

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