This movie is terrible in about 65 different ways.
A young woman, Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence), and her mother (Elizabeth Shue) are able to rent a home above their income bracket due to a gruesome double murder that happened a few years prior at the house next door. A husband and wife were murdered there by their behaviorally challenged teen daughter. She, however, escaped capture afterwards… now, years later, the locals debate whether she was drowned as she fled (the official story) or if she still lives out in the woods.
The murdered couple’s son (Max Thieriot), who had been living with relatives at the time of the murder, has now returned to the house in order to fix it up for sale. He and Elissa meet and begin to fall for each other, in spite of the hostility they face from her protective mother, and the resentful local residents (who despise him for not selling the house so they could raze it and restore their home values). The two bond as she patiently, understandingly gets him to divulge the details of the story of the murders.
Of course, he’s not completely telling the truth… and the true fate of his sister is tied in to a secret room in the basement.
Let’s start here. “House at the End of the Street” is NOT a horror movie. It’s a suspense thriller. And a poor one. 3/4 of the film is spent setting up the finale. Which is much too long, especially given the fact that the pay off is so horrible. When it comes, it’s laughable. Once the twists and reveals come, they’re so jaw-droppingly dumb that its tough to imagine how this script ever even got picked up. So the first 3/4 of the film is boring, and the last 1/4 is dumb.
I dont usually do this, but I’m gonna here… a “Spoiler Paragraph” is in white text below. If you dont care about spoiling this movie (and you shouldnt, it sucks, dont bother with it) highlight the paragraph to read the complete details of this vapidity. Meanwhile though, please keep the comment section spoiler free. Thanks!
Ok. The first half of the movie has a girl being kept locked in the basement. She acts crazy and violent, and given the opening scene of the movie where we’re shown the killing of her parents, you think she’s quite dangerous. She escapes the room a couple of times, but the brother recaptures her, and you think that he’s saving Jennifer Lawrence’s character from being killed (seeing as the captive girl runs straight to the house next door). But what really happened was… the two murdered parents were drug addicts. Due to their neglect, the young girl actually died as a child in an accident while playing with her brother on a swing set. After, the messed up parents blame the son, and begin dressing him as his sister and calling him her name. Eventually he snapped under the strain and killed them. Now he kidnaps women and keeps them prisoner in the room, deluding himself that they’re his sister… in order to keep his own guilt and identity confusion in check. Once Jennifer Lawrence gets a hint, he needs to start killing people in order to protect his secret.
So, if you chose to read that, you can imagine my distaste for this movie. You can trust that none of that is handled with anywhere NEAR the style and skill it would take in order to make such a concept palatable.
If you prefer to stay spoiler free, suffice it to say that even though Jennifer Lawrence and Elisabeth Shue are fine in their roles, this movie is saddled with horrible direction (the occasional stylistic interjections are completely unwelcome), and a terrible, terrible, terrible script. This is a movie that takes way too long to get started, and then when it does, you’re going to wish it would stop.