Do you know your neighbors? Do you merely give them a passing wave on your way to work, or are you on a first name basis with them? Perhaps you even invite them over for a barbecue every now and then. Have you ever wondered if there was more to them than meets the eye? Maybe they’re hiding something.
This rings true for House At The End Of The Street‘s Elissa Cassidy (Jennifer Lawrence). Elissa and her mother Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) move into a new home and begin hearing rumors about a double-murder that took place in the house next door. On her way home from a party one night, Elissa meets her new neighbor Ryan Jacobson (Max Thieriot). He’s a college boy heartthrob and the sole survivor of the murders that took place in his home four years prior. Despite several warnings from the townspeople, she befriends her neighbor, who seems much nicer than everyone gives him credit for.
The film ends with a Shyamalan-esque twist that was well set up, with subtle hints given throughout the movie. Despite the clues, the ending remains unexpected and is absolutely shocking to its audience. Unfortunately, the rest of the film doesn’t measure up to its finale.
This 2012 mystery/horror flick was written by David Loucka and Jonathan Mostow, and tragically, the writing is what hurt the film the most. House At The End Of The Street is filled with embarrassing horror clichés. For example, we have a policeman (Gil Bellows) whose flashlight is coincidentally broken, the dumb blonde girl who falls while being chased and leaves behind something she could’ve used as a weapon, and a killer who seems invincible in Billy Loomis (Scream) fashion.Some of the dialogue also sounded strange. One line in particular happens while Elissa meets Ryan for the first time. He sees her on the side of the road and offers her a ride home, which she accepts after some resistance. One of the first things she says to him is, “Your parents got killed.” This is so out-of-the-blue and it doesn’t feel organic at all during the conversation that they are having.
Another downside to this movie was the choice to cast Jennifer Lawrence as the lead protagonist. Although she is a wonderful actress, this role wasn’t for her and she didn’t fit the character well. She was very hit or miss with her line delivery, which is very distracting when trying to watch a story unfold.
The rest of the cast did a fine job, with Max Thieriot leading the pack as a mysterious recluse. He nailed every line, even the ones that sounded weird and didn’t quite fit the scenario or his character’s personality. He did the best with what he had, and what he had was a cliché-ridden horror movie with a less-than-flawless script.Despite these setbacks, I found that the pacing of the film was great. I never got bored watching it, and I really loved the many chase scenes. The first two especially were the most intense moments in House At The End Of The Street. They were both frightening and nerve-wracking, and Mark Tonderai’s directing covered them spectacularly.
Overall, I personally love this movie, but I’m not unaware of its issues, mainly being its dialogue and casting choices. It’s an exciting film that leads up to a gasp-worthy finale, which makes it a perfect watch for the upcoming Halloween season.