House at the End of the Street (2012)


‘House at the End of the Street’ might achieve the unique status of being one of the most boring horror films released in 2012.  It’s dull, predictable, and rife with uninteresting characters and a bland story that makes getting through this movie a real challenge.  I’ve sat through plenty of B-grade horror flicks that don’t offer a single scare but can still make up for it by being charming, interesting, or at the very least so bad that they still manage to entertain.  ‘House at the End of the Street’ offers none of these redeemable qualities and only succeeds in being a terrible way to kill two hours of your time.

The story revolves around Elissa and her mother, Sarah, who have just moved from Chicago to a new town where they’re renting a house for cheap.  The reason they can afford the rent is because of the dark history surrounding the house next door.  Four years earlier the couple living there was brutally murdered by their young daughter, Carrie Anne, who disappeared and is presumed dead despite the fact that no one ever found a body.  Elissa and her mother think the place is empty, but soon learn that’s not true when they find out the deceased couple’s son, Ryan, still resides in the house.  Sarah grows nervous when her daughter befriends the troubled and isolated young man, and although Elissa is determined to bring Ryan out of his shell, she discovers that within the walls of Ryan’s empty home hides a secret which she will face head on in the film’s insipid climax.

If you enjoy watching movies where you can predict everything that’s going to happen long before it actually happens, then you might enjoy ‘House at the End of the Street.’  For everyone else who wants solid entertainment or legitimate horror, please don’t waste your time.  This is PG-13 schlock targeted at a younger audience who won’t be paying attention to the plot anyway because they’re too busy texting on their phones or whispering and giggling with their friends.  I’m fairly certain the only reason this movie wasn’t shelved was because of Jennifer Lawrence.  Her recent success with movies like X-Men: First Class and Hunger Games (for God’s shake, she’s billed in all the commercials as The Hunger Games’ Jennifer Lawrence) proves that she’s profitable.  It would have been a financial shot in the foot for the studio not to give this a theatrical run.  I guarantee most of the people who showed up for this thing while it was in theatres belonged to The Hunger Games fan base.

The majority of the film focuses on the budding relationship between Elissa and Ryan, interspersed with Elissa making friends at school and forming a band and having fights with her mother, as well as scenes of Ryan tending to the dirty little secret he has hiding away beneath his house.  You won’t need to guess what that secret is for too long.  You’re told within the first twenty minutes of the film.  That’s the problem with ‘House.’  It shows its hand too early.  Even if it had been predictable, at least there would have been some mystery to Ryan and his troubled past and what he was doing behind the walls of his home. 

Instead, the most interesting part of this dull piece of work is thrown out prematurely and we’re left with virtually nothing to watch.  Elissa and Ryan’s relationship is still developed; even though neither has good chemistry and we already know things aren’t going to work out for either of them.  Sarah, uncertain whether or not to trust Ryan or leave him alone with her daughter, tries to learn more about her neighbor and why he’s such a recluse, despite the fact that anyone with half a brain could figure out where this story is going. 

It’s sad because ‘House’ doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be.  There are elements of horror (I use the term loosely), but at the same time it’s catering to a teenage audience with a one dimensional love story that seemed like they took notes from all of the Twilight movies.  All the while attempting to build a paper-thin mystery that’s been solved by the half hour point, adding layers of unnecessary suspense that feel cheesy and ridiculous, adding no legitimate tension to the movie.

The acting isn’t any better.  Jennifer Lawrence at least seems like she’s trying while the rest of the cast don’t appear to care about their performances.  Max Thieriot’s portrayal of Ryan is especially horrendous.  A cardboard box would have done a better job.  His face remains a blank slate throughout the entire movie as he mumbles each of his lines.  Not once does he emote.  Not once does he try and convey that Ryan is a truly disturbed individual.  There isn’t a single redeemable performance amongst the entire cast, but the abysmal direction they chose to take with Ryan is by the far the worst.

A boring and predictable waste of time.  Avoid this movie. I can’t stress that enough. Bad acting, a poorly handled mystery and a mess of a story make ‘House at the End of the Street’ a pitiful excuse for a horror movie.  
A boring and predictable waste of time. Avoid this movie. I can’t stress that enough. Bad acting, a poorly handled mystery and a mess of a story make ‘House at the End of the Street’ a pitiful excuse for a horror movie.