How about movies with directions in their titles? The Last House On the Left. The House on Haunted Hill. The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane. The House Across the Street. The House on Sorority Row. And now, House At the End of the Street. Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
Elissa and her mother Sarah have shaken off a rough past and moved into a big, rambling house in rural tranquility. All would be perfect except for the house next to them, location of a brutal double-murder of a mother and father by their young daughter, and in which the surviving son still resides. He seems harmless enough, but considering the genre neighbourhood we’re in here, we can expect more serious incidents than loud noise played after hours and some junk on the front lawn…
Let’s get right to it. Story gets a one (+1). It’s a rehash of too many previous horror/suspense movies to count. Look gets a (+2). At night, everything looks blue. During the day, it’s always a dusty sepia. The woods are green as green can be. Fair enough. Overall Casting will rate 2 points (+2). Current It girl Jennifer Lawrence is on hand as Elissa, and Max Thieroit doing his best Ethan Hawke impersonation as the enigmatic neighbour Ryan Jacobson. As for Commitment to Genre? Does a commitment to slavishly follow the conventions of the genre like a slot car on a track count? No, it doesn’t. I’ll give it a (+1).
I’m getting pretty sick of spooky girls with their disheveled black hair hanging in front of their face. I blame the Japanese. (-1) for the ‘do.
(+1) for Jennifer Lawrence. Hey, I like Jennifer Lawrence. Sue me.
However, Elisabeth Shue is one of those actors with absolutely nothing going on behind the eyes. She is by far the weakest link in a movie otherwise stacked with younger, less experienced actors. So a point (-1) gets the old soft shoe off the stage for Shue.
Chad complained in his rejoinder to my review of The Cabin in the Woods that he found not an ounce of suspense in that movie. Here, we are subjected to lots of periods of suspense, but they are invariably needlessly drawn out and pointless. (-1) for stringing us along while stupid people do a lot of stupid things they shouldn’t be doing.
(-1) for an ending that riffs on the ending to The Silence of the Lambs, making me wish dearly that I was watching that classic instead of this dreck. Echoes of Hitchcock’s Psycho also reverberate, but I’m not even going to go there.
Final tally: +3
In my opinion, just do a U-turn and avoid the House At the End of the Street.