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The House at the End of the Street Works For Awhile Before Crashing Down

The House at the End of the Street
Directed by Mark Tonderai
Written by David Louka from a story by Jonathan Mostow
Rogue, 2012

It’s been awhile since a really good horror movie has come out, and well, we’re still waiting.  This year, every movie claiming to be horror that has been given a major release has been pretty awful, or poorly conceived.  I think about a movie like Silent House, which has a great set-up of “what the hell is going on” and then the explanation is so unsatisfying that it removes all the goodwill you had about it before.  The same can be said for The House at the End of the Street.

And here we are again: broken family buys/rents a house, and either the house is haunted or the neighbors are screwy.  Almost without fail, these people are coming from the city and going to the country, which is the annals of horror screenwriting history is the scariest thing that can happen to a person.  In this, it’s Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) and her mom Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) who are renting out a home.  Sarah is a doctor who apparently has been a bit of an absentee mother and the dad isn’t around anymore.  She’s trying to half-ass her way into being a mom.  The property they’ve rented out is next door to a place where a young girl killed her parents, which is why the rent is so low.

But, curiously, there is still someone living in that house.  Ryan (Max Theriot) was the little girl’s brother, who just so happened to be living with his aunt at the time.  The questions remain: where did the little girl go after killing her parents, and why is Ryan spending time in a house where his parents were murdered?  Well, he just seems like a damaged kid that needs some love, so Elissa starts warming to him and getting him to talk about the past.

The movie allows one major surprise to slip early, and it proceeds with such a blind disregard for what might happen to the movie you might wonder if there are any other surprises.  Well, there is, a couple more in fact, including the twist ending: but that surprise ended up making me question whether the filmmakers actually thought this through.  The twist ending is one where a lot of people will say, “Oh my God!  That’s incredible!” but then they will forget, like the filmmakers probably hope you do, that the ending doesn’t make any sense.  As I describe it without giving away any spoilers: if this surprise is true, wouldn’t this have all been discovered a long time ago?

Anyway, this works for a little bit, and then it crumbles, and what you’re left with is just your everyday PG-13 rental.


Comment from Jonathan
Time: September 21, 2012, 5:00 pm

I would consider “Cabin in the Woods” a good horror movie. I know the “Horror” aspect can be debated, but I think that’s the genre if mostly falls in. But you are correct that for the most part this year has stunk in the horror department.

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