House at the End of the Street

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.

F

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38 thoughts on “House at the End of the Street

  1. Sammie wanted to see this. (Her choice was thankfully trumped by ours, Clint Eastwood)

    Naturally I read the spoiler (hell, I read the last chapter of a book first). Too bad it sucked. I didn’t have huge expectations, but I definitely didn’t expect it to be that horrible. If the whole build up was for that ending, you’re right…. DUMB!

    Yet again Fogs, you take one for the team.

    • I consider it my duty. :D

      Trust me, seeing the premise summed up in a paragraph is much less painful than seeing it stretched out over the course of a full length movie! :D

      Sammie owes you one!!

      I’m waiting for “Trouble with the Curve” right now, hope it doesn’t disappoint like “House at the End of the Street!”

  2. I agree with just about everything you say here, So why do I not hate it as much as you do? I liked the Norman Bates feel and the romance angle. I know the story sound preposterous but that by itself doesn’t push it off the cliff. Maybe I’m just more patient with some things. I really was looking for a horror film when we went, to me that was the disappointment.

    • I dont know, Rich… this one? Eeesh. Not just me either, it’s at 12% on Rotten Tomatoes, so this is a tough one to defend.

      I thought it was terrible. Honestly, this has a spot locked in my ten worst list for the year. :(

  3. An F! Wow, I thought if it had Jennifer Lawrence in it it would be good. I went ahead and read the spoiler and it has potential, but I see that it had problems in its execution. See Fogs, this is why I “never” go to a movie on opening weekend until I read review from reliable critics. So thank you, yet again, for taking the bullet on this one. What’s the count now? I think like five :)

    • Hahah… I’m not keeping count, but if you say so, I’m sure you’re right.

      I’ll probably wind up owing YOU before its over, cause I’m pretty much already living in Skyrim right now.

      Lawrence was decent, hey. This wasn’t her fault at all. It was pretty much entirely on the terrible script. Every time they pulled back the covers on the truth a little more I winced… thinking Noooooo Cmon.

      I’d stay away from this one.

  4. To me the premise doesn’t seem too bad, it does have some Psycho-esque tendencies, but it must have been horribly delivered to receive an F. Maybe they should have named it “The Movie At The End Of The List”.

    • There you go. That title is FAR more appropriate. “Movie at the end of its Rope” how about that one? LOL

      I dont know, I think the premise sounds terrible no matter how you slice it, but you can trust that it wasn’t put together with a FRACTION of the skill it would have taken to make a halfway decent movie out of it.

      Grade A dreck, Ray. Grade A dreck.

  5. Dammm, i didn’t think this was going to turn out amazing but i was kind of hoping this might be decent, especially since Thieriot is a fav actor of mine and i would like to see his career really take off.Doesn’t look like this will do that for him tho

    And there is the whole FD thing too,but it doesn’t look like this will get me much points for it :(

  6. I thought Jennifer Lawrence was fine, but Elisabeth Shue’s character and/or acting just didn’t fly for me. Everyone is calling it a flop for Jennifer Lawrence (no doubt it was a flop of a mediocre clunky thriller-not-really-horror flick) and saying it will damper her career and is a letdown on her momentum, but forget to realize or mention a couple things. 1) ‘House @ the End of the Street’ was filmed in summer 2010 (in Canada WOOT!) which was before ‘Winter Bone’s fall 2010 release date (the breakout performance by J Lawrence and Oscar nom). 2) ‘X-men: First Class’ and ‘Hunger Games’ began filming after ‘House @ the End of the Street’. I bring these two points up because it means her break through drama performance / 2 big studio flicks weren’t 100% in the picture when she did ‘House @ the End of the Street’.

    • I don’t see this one dampening her career.She has been getting rave reviews for her performance in Silver Lings PLaybook, and she has X-men Days of Future Past and the Hunger Games sequel next year(along with at least 2 other smaller films). Her career is going to be fine

    • Lawrence will be fine. A) She wasn’t bad here or anything, this movie wont be on her B) She’s already got a huge deal for Hunger Games that’s going to keep her rolling in offers for years.

      Plus she seems super talented from early indications… This will be forgotten about by the time the “Silver Linings Playbook” hits if not sooner. :D

  7. Then there were the cliches-the Fatal Attraction type almost ending and the flashlight that doesn’t work properly. Hasn’t anyone in these movies heard of Duracell? And the final shot was better done in “Sleepaway Camp” (a true horror film where the last word in the title says it all) Wasn’t really suspenseful with only 2 jump moments. Anything else I’ll e-mail you personally.

  8. That premise sounds familiar, and not just on the obvious theatrical level. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a TV movie with a gender-flipped version.

    I wonder how many critics are going to headline their reviews saying they hate HATES?

    • Thanks Fernando!

      She was fine in it though, I wouldnt put this on her – beyond making the poor choice of being associated with it. Although it was filmed prior to any of her other roles, so I guess you cant blame her there, either. I’d probably star in any movie I was given, too, if I were just starting out. LOL

  9. Thank you for sitting through this so others don’t. You’re doing your civic duty here!

    I thought this might be a half decent horror season film, but sounds like it’s just plain sucktastic. Ahh well, my search for a decent horror film to watch this halloween continues.

    • LOL. It’s my honor to serve, Jaina. :D

      Yeah… this is definitely NOT the movie you’re looking for. Still a couple of offerings to come though… let’s hope it doesnt all boil down to whether or not Paranormal Activity 4 is gonna be any good or not! :D

  10. Oh wow this sounds awful. I swear modern horror movies are even more awful because of the forced, ridiculous twists that are almost obligatory in every single one of them. God, I wish Elizabeth Shue had better career.

  11. I actually thought of Sleepaway Camp right after I saw the end of this movie, and I’m surprised more people aren’t mentioning the similarity.

    • You have a point, and I thought of that too. Definitely.

      But Sleepaway Camp is like, super cult. I’m not suprised not many people are saying it… because not that many people remember that one.

      Aside from that though, totally comparable!!

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  13. Pingback: A Filmster Quickie: House at the End of the Street | The Filmster

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