Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games) and her mother, Sarah (Elizabeth Shue), move into a lovely country house that nobody wants to rent because the house next door was the site of a grizzly murder.
Unfazed by such macabre interests and unimpressed by the neighbours’ apparent desire to bulldoze the house down to increase property values, the mother and daughter go about their business, getting used to their new community.
When a young man (the family’s only survivor), who lives in the spooky house, takes an interest in young Elissa, the stakes get raised and the mystery of what exactly happened next door starts coming to light.
We say, “See it if you like realistic thrillers about the quietly demented.”
TAYLOR: First of all, let me just say, “Welcome back, Elizabeth Shue.” I believe she went AWOL after her fantastic performance in Leaving Las Vegas, having had enough of Hollywood bologna. I always thought she was a talented and pretty lady who seemed to bring a high level of realism to her roles.
HOWE: It was nice to see that Jennifer Lawrence can act rather than just running around some forest, killing people in The Hunger Games. She is able to put some emotion into her character, unlike Kristen Stewart who just looks morose all the time, even when she’s meant to be happy.
TAYLOR: House at The End of the Street is a fine film. It doesn’t offend, it makes sense, but it also doesn’t wow. It’s one of those quiet movies that slips through the cracks between other movies that are screaming for attention. The film is realistic, dark, disturbing, involves nothing supernatural and could be ripped from the headlines. House… skirts the line between “thriller and horror.”
HOWE: I enjoyed it. It’s my type of suspense/thriller film, with no cheap startles. Max Thieriot was very creepy as Ryan, the next door neighbour, and there’s no way I’d let him date my daughter.
TAYLOR: I enjoyed some of the artistic cinematography in the film, which is the norm for films of this genre. However, at about the 60 per cent mark I started to get bored. It wasn’t the craftsmanship that was at fault, there just seemed to be a lot of waiting around for something to happen.
HOWE: Oh, the suspense was killing you was it? They had to get you to like the characters; to get the viewer to trust everyone involved, then hit you with the truth. Later, when you think you know the end, House blindsides you. But saying that, it’s not anything new. We’ve seen it all before.
TAYLOR: At no time was I frightened, worried or otherwise moved by the film. I was only curious. Ultimately, there was a slight payoff in the film, but not until the very end, and not much of a reward for my 90 minutes of curiosity.
–– Howe gives House at the End of the Street 3 slices of cake out of 5.
–– Taylor gives it 2.5 trapdoors out of 5.
The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.
–– Brain Taylor and Peter Howe are movie reviewers based in Vernon, B.C.