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
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
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
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.
Tall Man” is written and directed by Pascal Laugier, who also did “Martyrs.”
I'm definitely a fan of that movie, so I was interested to see what he could
come up with this time. Actually, knowing that he made this movie was one of
only a few things I knew about it before watching it. It's definitely the way
audiences should watch this movie so I'll try not too give much away.
In the town of Cold Rock, kids have
been mysteriously disappearing. As cops continue to search for clues, locals
begin to place blame on "the Tall Man." Some claim to have seen him,
but no one really knows who or what he is. A local nurse, Julia Denning
(Jessica Biel), is use to helping out the townspeople, but soon it's soon her
that needs help after her son David (Jakob Davies) is taken by the Tall Man.
After a quick look at the police
search, the audience gets a glimpse of Julia at work, and then at a local
diner. It's here that they introduce Tracy (Samantha Ferris), one of the many
people who have lost a child. Her loss as taken a great toll on her, and Julia
tries unsuccessfully to help her out. In one of the more interesting early
scenes, the audience sees others like Tracy talk about seeing the Tall Man in a
news flash. It kind of gives the Tall Man legendary status, and certainly will
peak the audiences’ curiosity.
After that somewhat mysterious start,
the audience meets David and his babysitter, Christine (Eve Harlow). Julia
comes home and has a pleasant dinner with them. There really isn't much shock
that after a good time at dinner David is taken by the Tall Man. There is a
very entertaining chase, as Julia pursues the Tall Man and her son. The horror
and action pretty much stop after that besides maybe in a few minor spots.
From here on out, it’s all about the
twists and turns. They do a very good job of setting up the twists in the
story. At key points, the movie almost stops, lets the audience take a guess at
what is about to happen, and then the twist happens. While some might figure
out some parts of the story, I don’t think many will figure out the whole
thing. The ending might not be shocking, but it fits the story and is
definitely not what the audience would have expected before seeing this movie.
The acting is solid all around,
especially since the actors have a particularly hard job of hiding how the
story unfolds. Jessica absolutely shines, as she is asked to handle many
different emotions, and nails it. Then there is Jodelle Ferland, who plays
Jenny, a young girl from an abusive home who doesn’t talk anymore. She might
not talk and is a minor character, but Jenny does play an important part in the
story. Jodelle does a great job of getting the most out of her character’s
Pascal Laugier does another excellent
job with “The Tall Man.” “Martyrs” is heavy on the horror with some mystery
mixed in, while this movie is basically the opposite. However, there is a
similar kind of theme in both movies, which I will let you figure out. The
acting is excellent, especially considering all of the surprises. If you are in
the mood for a movie with twists and turns, then this is for you. I give this
movie 4 pools of blood.