Film Review: Another Great Jennifer Lawrence Turn Can’t Save ‘House at the End of the Street’
CHICAGO – “House at the End of the Street” is the kind of bland, mediocre thriller that’s tough to review in the sense that it’s difficult to put a shoulder shrug into words. How can I turn “meh” into a full review? In all seriousness, actress Jennifer Lawrence does her best to elevate this dull material but she can’t save a stupid script and direction that thinks turning a thriller into a 1990s music video is the way to add honest scares.
Shot entirely on digital handheld shaky cameras that are intercut with slo-mo shots and other post-production tricks meant to heighten tension but merely annoy instead, “House at the End of the Street” tells a relatively straightforward story with a twist that most audiences will see coming but could be a nice “gotcha” moment for those who don’t. The great Lawrence, who has already been Oscar-nominated once for “Winter’s Bone” and is reportedly going to repeat that feat for this Fall’s “Silver Linings Playbook,” is well above this material as Elissa, a sweet girl who moves to a new town with her single mother Sarah (Elisabeth Shue).
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “House at the End of the Street” in our reviews section.|
Before they can even get acclimated, Elissa and Sarah hear all about the town urban legend. Four years earlier, a girl named Carrie Anne pulled a Lizzie Borden on her parents, killing them in the middle of the night before disappearing herself. Rumors are that she still lives in the woods. Meanwhile, Carrie Anne’s brother Ryan (Max Theriot) is the town loner, still living in the house where his parents were killed and avoiding the local teens who like to mock and bully him.
Elissa is drawn to loners. While the town jock first thinks he has a chance with her, it is the sweet Ryan to whom our heroine is drawn. As the film gets a little like a standard romantic teen drama, we learn that Ryan is keeping Carrie Anne trapped in his basement behind locked doors and under sedation. She tries to escape a couple of times and seems like she may be a true danger to Elissa. I say “seems” because anyone who has seen a movie before will know that Ryan hides a secret or two himself and that Elissa should probably listen to her mom’s warnings about dating older boys.
House at the End of the Street
Photo credit: Sony Pictures