I’d heard that The House At The End Of The Street was pants so imagine my disappointment when my on-line film provider sent me a copy in the post instead of the Berberian Sound Studio which I’ve been eagerly awaiting. Oh the horror. Nevertheless, I put aside all preconceived ideas and watched THATEOTS with an open mind and you know what I discovered? It turns out that it is a bit pants after all but nowhere near as pants as we were all expecting.
The main reason for this is the screen presence of Jennifer Lawrence. Our leading young lady plays Elissa, a beautiful and intelligent teenager who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Elissa and her once neglectful mother, played well by Elizabeth Shue, move into their spacious new home. A luxury made affordable due to it’s location across the street from an abandoned house that was once the scene of a horrific crime involving a married couple murdered by their own 11 year old daughter. It’s not long into the film before it becomes apparent that the so called abandoned house isn’t as abandoned as they were led to believe. It is actually occupied by the son of the murdered parents who was absent during the time his parents were butchered. Despite initial concerns, a friendship between Elissa and the mysterious son ensues… but at what cost?
To tell you more would ruin the very few surprises this film has in store. Having said that, what surprised me most about this film was its ability to hold my interest and continue to intrigue. The majority of the film is actually quite original. Whether it is any good or not is up for debate but I was engrossed for long periods. Jennifer Lawrence is the driving force behind this film. If it wasn’t for her presence the film would feel much weaker. It’s fair to say that she is a better actress than this film deserves yet she is not the only stand out. Elizabeth Shue is also good value here, as the mother and daughter dynamic between the characters is very believable. Enough of this though, what about the horror I hear you say? well, there isn’t any. Or should I say, there’s very little. There are some jumpy moments, some J-horror references and there’s the odd kill, but it’s probably best summed up as a thriller dressed up as a horror. The twisty-turny story is rather original up until the last half-hour or so where the film’s weaknesses are most apparent. After an interesting twist in proceedings the film doesn’t know how to finish and instead of continuing the intrigue it resorts to type. Shame. I can’t help but think a better conclusion and a slightly darker tone would have gone a very long way.