The Twist in the Room at the House at the End of the Street
House at the End of the Street has got more twists than a 1960s dance floor, I tell ya what. Jennifer Lawrence has to put up with some shit. I mean that in both a plot and a bone-breaking sense. Well, there’s one bone-breaking twist, and it in itself is an emotional twist that misleads viewers. Even the suspenseful climax will keep you guessing. Gosh darn I hate reviewing good movies because I don’t want to spoil anything.
Elissa and her recently divorced mom move into a big house near a national park, only affordable because the house at the end of the street *cough* was where a family was slaughtered, leaving only one person alive… Ryan. And he still lives there. The entire town brands him a freak and hates him, as they don’t know the true story behind his family’s murder. You don’t either, so stop making crass assumptions. Quasi-spoiler, once Elissa and Ryan get a little chummy, he reveals that his brain-damaged sister Carrie-Anne killed everyone before drowning in a river. Her body was never found, so local legends have cropped up of her living in the woods.
There is a short introduction to the town douchebag, Tyler, which gives you someone to hate. He runs some kind of afterschool charity club which is actually a front for some stereotypical high school partying. Elissa doesn’t take too kindly to being propositioned by the drunk and “pathetically horny” Tyler lad. Aside from that, the only role he plays is trying to beat up Ryan right before things get dramatic climactic, so feel free to fully disregard him as a mechanism to incite an emotional response from you, the prospective audience. Was that too meta?
Jennifer Lawrence isn’t too bad in a horror movie victim role. Since the movie focuses more on scares oriented around the story rather than story oriented around the scares, there’s enough room for Elissa to actually receive some quality characterization, particularly by the dynamic between her and her mother. I actually found myself getting a little “involved” during the final confrontation.
Overall, House at the End of the Street comes off as a quality, modern horror story. Its only blatant clichés are a flashlight that’s low on batteries and a villain that comes back for a final scare. If you’re expecting to be doing a seeing of the boobies, you must be going to a different venue of cinematic event showing, for this instance is dedicated to the being of the quality. Ten outta ten.
Stephen Holden of NYTimes ripped House at the End of the Street for ripping from Psycho, which I haven’t seen for reasons unknown. If you want to watch something for entertainment, my mostly neutral and out-of-context review is the one for you. If you want to assess this flick as cinematic art, check out the alt review here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/22/movies/the-house-at-the-end-of-the-street-with-jennifer-lawrence.html?_r=0