7 jun. 2014

My Review: House at the End of the Street (4/10)

"People don't notice all the secrets around them. Even though they're right in front of them, just hiding, waiting to be found."

If you thought the title of this film was bad, wait until you actually see the movie because it is pretty much a standard film in the horror genre. I don't even think you can consider this one a horror film, because there isn't much scares; it is more of a teen romantic suspense film.  It's formulaic and by the books. Jennifer Lawrence had a perfect rating until I got around to watching this film. She didn't have much to work with and she gives a decent performance but nothing like the work we've come to expect from her these days. This is a forgettable film and one that despite having an interesting twist towards the end ruins it by extending the absurdity a bit too long in the final act. The clever twist lost its appeal for me when director, Mark Tonderai, decided to continue stretching out the scene making each second more and more unbelievable and pointless.

The screenplay co-written by David Loucka and Jonathan Mostow centers on a single mother, Sarah (Elisabeth Shue), and her teenage daughter, Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) who arrive from Chicago to a small town to start a new life. Their new home is big and beautiful and of course they bought it cheap because the house in front of theirs has a dark past. A 13 year old girl murdered her parents four years ago and never was found. The girl's brother, Ryan (Max Thieriot), who was living with her aunt at that time now lives in that house and leads a quiet and lonely life. The neighbors aren't too friendly towards him, but Elissa who happens to have a thing with fixing broken people takes a liking for him. Her mother is worried about their new friendship, but the town's Sherif (Gil Bellows) assures her that he's never caused any trouble. But Ryan has a secret he's kept to himself all this time which explains his lonely behavior. 

House at the End of the Street is full of cliches and borrows ideas from other much better horror films. I would've enjoyed the twist more if it didn't rely so much on these cliches and would have avoided the predictable ending. There's a scene where Ryan and Elissa stare at a tree and he tells her how he sees the face of a man on it. It's a straight forward metaphor in the film reminding us that sometimes we see things that aren't really there. Storytellers have the power to make us believe or see things about certain characters that are truly not there. The film might appeal to some teens and fans of Jennifer Lawrence, but this formulaic film has bad editing and relies on so many horror cliches like the "shocking" sound effects that don't necessarily work very well. It's ineffective and uninspiring and if we had never heard of Jennifer Lawrence before we'd never consider her as an upcoming star. 

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