Neighbors can be scary people. The neighbors I have to pass everyday to get to the stairs leave their door partially open, and I am just expecting them to come bursting through one day and attack me. Ok maybe not, but their little girl sure does creep up out of nowhere more often than I’d like. But hey, at least there aren’t any stories going around about murders happening in there.
Had there been then I know I definitely wouldn’t have moved in here. But that didn’t stop Sarah and Elissa from moving into their new home. Big mistake. No matter how great the price is because the property value has plummeted, no good can come from this kind of proximity. [Fast forward to the latter 1/3 of the film] See? Told you.
Technically House at the End of the Street is a horror film, but there really is nothing scary about it (don’t let that girl who randomly screamed at someone passing in front of the camera fool you). Except maybe the story… It really is terrible. Not that all horror films are works of pure excellence as they often fall to cliché, but even from the weaker side of this genre the writing takes a lull from the moment it starts. For starters the build is horribly done, and not because it is a slow build following the initial shock to get you ready for more. It’s that the filler used to build characters and tension is made up of cringe inducing stereotypical drama between mom and daughter (who is easily the nosiest person ever), as well as between new girl at school with those pesky, entitled popular kids. That and a relationship between mom and cop escalates so quickly in terms of familiarity that it’s just laughable.
The one compliment that can be given is that there are definite times where it is anyone’s guess what is going to happen next. Granted this is partly because of some recurring elements that happen often enough that clearly they can’t happen again, but then they do. At the same time, the film is taken in directions that I never expected when facts start to come out that cause reevaluation of everything seen prior to that moment, bringing hope for the final act. But of course the writers then had to go working in reasons for why what is happening is going down as it is, and they take it one step too far (if not a few steps further than that), failing at their attempt at creative story building through reveals.
It’s a right of passage to star in a horror film, and it is never a surprise when the movies don’t turn out that well. This blend of Straw Dogs, Disturbia, and Shiver is just that for Jennifer Lawrence, so let’s just be glad that she’s gotten it out of the way and move on from this. Better yet, forget you ever saw it.
Final Grade: D