I don’t know what it is, but apparently there is something terrifying about the last house on any given street. I suppose they make good living quarters for serial killers. House at the End of the Street stars The Hunger Games’ Jennifer Lawrence as Elissa, a young teen who has recently moved into a small, rural neighborhood where the house next door hides a dark and deadly secret.
Four years ago, the parents of Carrie Ann Jacobson were brutally murdered by their daughter who then fled into the woods where she supposedly died at the local dam. No body was ever recovered. Rumor has it she still lives in the woods. The horrific murders at the house haven’t helped their only living son, Ryan (Max Thieriot), from making a living due to almost the entire neighborhood ostracizing him. Determined to prove the community wrong, Elissa befriends the reclusive Ryan. Some rumors turn out to be true, though, and soon Elissa finds herself in a living nightmare.
Trailers for House at the End of the Street have created the illusion of this horror scenario that plays out for Elissa but in reality, the film is no more than a slow buildup to a disappointing twist conclusion. The first two thirds of the film is nothing more than a budding romance between Elissa and Ryan with a few moments of suspense thrown in to keep things moving forward. It also doesn’t help that Jennifer Lawrence succumbs to all the typical horror clichés as well. Why must all lead actors in horror films be reduced to dumbfounded characters running around in fright? It’s a shame, really, because the plot turns out to be halfway decent.
It’s the final third of the film that most closely resembles what we see in the trailers and where most of the suspense and horror comes from. Things finally begin to make sense at this point but by then it’s too late. Having to sit through an hour of filler just to get to the meat of the film isn’t worth it, at least not in this case.
House at the End of the Street fails to adequately capture the suspense and horror that its trailers portray, resulting in one big letdown. As I said earlier, the story is good. It’s the execution of it that fails to live up to expectations. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come with the Halloween horror season about to begin.
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