Review: House at the End of the Street

Review: House at the End of the Street

By: Megan Cohen

        Since the early 1900s, we have used horror films as a way to terrify and thrill us. They provide an adrenaline rush from the comfort of a couch. This genre has produced classics that evoke nostalgia, and bore recent films that never cease to make your hairs stand up. However, Mark Tonderei’s House at the End of the Street is neither of these.

The film begins when Elissa, played by Jennifer Lawrence of The Hunger Games fame, and her mother move into a seemingly perfect neighborhood, eager to start a new life. While meeting their other neighbors, however, they learn of its dark past; years before, a young girl in the neighborhood named Carrie-Ann allegedly murdered both of her parents, then drowning in a dam, her body was never found. Her family’s old house is currently occupied by her older brother, Ryan, portrayed by Max Thieriot, whom Elissa grows close to. But as it turns out, the family harbors a secret far deeper than anyone could ever imagine.

Lawrence certainly made the most of the role. While no one in this film will receive an Oscar anytime soon, the acting surpassed the clichéd screaming and begging for mercy. Thieriot’s portrayal of Ryan was impressive; it’s surprising that he hasn’t been given more recognition for it.

      Obviously, very few horror movies contain a full hour and a half of blood, screaming, and murder, instead opting to show the characters’ lives from time to time. But in House at the End of the Street  the murder content was towards the end, with a few short scenes sprinkled throughout to make you a little nervous and nothing more.

That being said, there were multiple times when the story seemed to follow Elissa’s social life and relationship with Ryan more than anything else, which, at times, was more interesting. This distanced the movie from its claimed genre.

The creepy music always gives away what is about to pop onto the screen. The only real surprising part of the plot is the ending, which saves from the movie from predictability. Still, it wasn’t delivered well enough to save itself entirely.

House at the End of the Street is definitely one of those movies that you want to like but just can’t bring yourself to. You even sort of develop a love-hate relationship with it. By the time the credits are rolling and your friend turns to you and asks if you liked it, you can’t answer.

In all fairness, Tonderai’s directorial debut was a mere three years ago. For a new director, House at the End of the Street  was a pretty decent start, and there is still hope for his future projects.

If you’re an avid horror fan, and love having your heart stopped every few minutes, then House at the End of the Street is not worth the ticket. But if you’re more into romantic comedies, and you’ve decided to give horror a try, then it won’t hurt to start off with this. No matter your preference, though, you won’t be screaming.