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House at the End of the Street begins with a flash of terror and brilliant suspense as a disturbing little girl slaughters her parents in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, it’s the only real scare you get for the first 40 minutes of the film.
Jennifer Lawrence plays Elissa, a 17-year-old who moves into a house with her mother, Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) in an attempt to reconcile their mother-daughter bond. Four years ago, in the house next door, Carrie Anne Jacobson slaughtered her parents, and is rumored to still live out in the woods near her house. The only survivor in the family is Ryan Jacobson (Max Thieriot), who, to Sarah’s surprise, still lives in the house. When Elissa develops feelings for the creepy orphan boy, Sarah gets protective and warns her daughter he’s trouble, which of course, only makes him that much more appealing.
One of the first things Elissa decides to do at her new house is take a walk in the woods as it starts to get dark. She hears the tree branches snapping, which could possibly be the psycho girl.
Most horror films write close to the same scenes, but this film went a little over the top including a scene when Lawrence’s character hears bumping in the Jacobson house and continues through a basement door, a hidden attic door, and a spiral staircase that leads to a locked creepy door before realizing she probably shouldn’t go exploring a house where two people were murdered.
Within the first 30 minutes, a dark secret is revealed and the audience is left feeling cheated out of a mysterious plot. Fortunately, the twists near the end give people the chance to figure out the clues and reach the disturbing truths. Unfortunately, the script gives away so many clues before the big unveiling of secrets, that the audience slowly reaches the conclusion several minutes before the characters decide to expose themselves, leaving no element of surprise.
A dull script and lack of scares are the biggest issues in House at the End of the Street. Most of David Loucka’s script focuses on introducing the characters and developing Elissa and Ryan’s relationship with awkward teen love scenes.
The ending is suitable; Lawrence discovers the truth, escapes are attempted numerous times, people run around in the dark, there’s stabbing, shooting, and then a bittersweet ending with a surprise scene, which is worth hanging around for.
Horror film enthusiasts will probably feel indifferent about the film and call it forgettable, but they’ll appreciate the final minute of the last scene that reveals the sickest twist of all.