Lets see, there is “The Last House on the Left,” which is a revenge story. “House of the Dead,” which is just an excuse to kill zombies. “Silent House,” where a girl battles her own demons while trapped in a house. So what does “House at the End of the Street” exactly have to offer?
Trying to make a new start, Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) and her daughter Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) move into a nice new home. They get the house at a discount because of the murders that occurred in the house next door. Sarah believes the house is empty, but soon finds out that Ryan (Max Thieriot), who is the son of the murdered couple, has moved back into the home. She doesn't have an issue with that until Elissa decides to be friends with him.
While trying not to watch too much of the trailers, I really had the wrong idea about this movie. Obviously there is something strange about Ryan, but I wasn’t sure if he would turn out to be the one behind everything bad that happens, or possibly his sister. As Elissa and Ryan spend more time together, the audience gets more and more clues from Ryan about what really happened in that house. Well, there happens to be a twist in this story that will probably be a big factor in whether audiences end up liking it.
If audiences pay close enough attention, there is something that happens that will tip them off that what he says doesn’t add up. After that moment, I spent most of the time thinking this was going to be a certain type of horror movie, but I’m happy I was wrong. They do a pretty good job hiding the secret until the climax of the movie. I’m glad I didn’t pay too much attention to the trailers, and clearly had the wrong idea. It made the twist that more satisfying.
Now getting to the point where the big reveal happens is another story. The pace is a little slow, and there are some scenes that seem like they are just there to fill screen time. There is one particular minor storyline they use to do this, which is how Elissa used to be in a band. One scene shows her singing, and there are a few scenes where she rehearses with her new band. I happened to look at Jennifer’s IMDB page, and she is listed on the soundtrack for “The Hunger Games.” I can’t help wonder if she sings in this movie to further her career as an actress/singer (just saying).
Instead of these wasted moments, it would have been nice to see some more scares. There is a least one decent scare early on, but that is about it. The opening scene is also all right, mostly because of the unusual flashing of lights they use as everything happens. Really, because of the twist, they are really limited in what they can do until it is revealed. Then there is a fun scene where the lights go off. I can already hear the groans from some horror fans that are tired of this kind of scene, but there is always at least one person in the audience that can’t handle it.
Going back to Jennifer, she obviously isn’t going to top her performance in “The Hunger Games” in this movie, but she does all right. She does fall victim to some of those wasted scenes previously mentioned. Elisabeth is Elisabeth. Max is the one that really stands out. When he needs to convince the audience to feel sorry for Ryan, he does it. When he needs to show the audience that there is something a little odd about Ryan, he does that as well.
Heading into this movie, I thought it would be more of a horror movie, but it turns out to be more of a thriller. Nevertheless, there is horror in the twist, which will ultimately determine audiences’ opinions of the movie. It does have a slow pace, but never felt boring. It could have used a few more scares, and a little less singing. All eyes will be on Jennifer, but Max steals the show. It’s not about revenge, or zombie killing, but the twist is good enough to give it 2.5 pools of blood.