House at the End of the Street (could this title be any more generic?) is currently available on instant Netflix.
One Line Review: Inoffensive, watered down horror brightened by Jennifer Lawrence.
“Moving to a new town proves even more stressful for a teenage girl when she learns that the house next door was the site of a double murder. But after making friends with the victims’ son, she realizes there may be more to the story.”
“Is that Mr. and Mrs. Dead People’s house?”
Okay this isn’t fair to lay solely at the feet of this movie but House at the End of the Street begins with an animated logo from Relativity Media. This is followed by animated logo for Rogue, which is a Relativity Media company! We then get another animated logo from Filmnation and not to to be left out a final animated logo from A Bigger Boat. This is before ANY of the credits, which by the way begin with “relativity media presents” and then segues into “a filmnation entertainment / a bigger boat production”. Ugh – definitely one of the annoying trends in movies is this double-thanking of everyone before the movie even starts. /rantmodeoff
You can’t really argue with the cast here. Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence is our teenager in distress. Elissa. Before you point out that Lawrence won after this film, she had also been nominated for her performance in Winter’s Bone back in 2010. Lawrence plays her role well while still always exuding likability. She really reminds me of Tom Hanks in that regard.
Academy Award nominee Elisabeth Shue plays her mom, Sarah, and is another actress that always seems affable. Max Thieriot, currently seen as Dylan Massett on Bates Motel, is good as the mysterious orphan, Ryan. The other young people involved are rather neutral, not being given much to do.
The basic premise is intriguing but not well-realized. Some of the plotting leaves much to be desired. I certainly had my share of encounters with bullies growing up and they don’t tend to commit felonies out in the open, such as destroying a car in front of dozens of witnesses without provocation. The movie was obviously written with the end shot in mind and yet that shot is a foregone conclusion unless you fell asleep.
House at the End of the Street is more mystery than horror and, because of the teen-friendly PG-13 rating, the violence is toned down quite a bit. The reveal is nice and the cast is good but overall the film is just meh.
People Watch: Gil Bellows, who plays Weaver here, has certainly had a colorful career. While not instantly recognizable, he played regular Billy Thomas in Ally and Ally McBeal as well as roles in The Shawshank Redemption and The Weather Man.