It’s funny how some actors and actresses can go from being unheard of, to being everywhere and in everything in seemingly no time at all. Take Jennifer Lawrence for example.
Before 2012 unless you were a hardcore fan of The Bill Engvall Show (nope me neither?) you wouldn’t have never heard of her. Then suddenly she’s in a comedy alongside De Niro, a huge teen book movie translation about an eating competition and the horror, House at the End of the Street.
Okay so Lawrence did get nominated for an Oscar for Winter’s Bone in 2010, and she rocked as a young Mystique in X-Men: First Class. But really it seemed to the cine-illiterate mind that all of a sudden in 2012 her face was on movie posters on every bus, telephone booth and billboard.
Which leads us to House at the End of the Street and the reservations that this reviewer had that this horror would either be a quickie cash-in on her current found fame, or worse still a movie made years ago and rush released to capitilise on her rising stardom (Camp Hell anyone?!)
Luckily it is neither. And in fact, House at the End of the Street is a pretty good horror thriller, teen movie mash-up that delivers a solid, inventive story, along with some truly scary scenes and great performances all round, including from Lawrence.
Opening with the brutal and nasty murder of a mother and father by their young daughter (shot in a confusing, chaotic point of view) we flash forward four years to find Elissa, played by Lawrence, and her mother Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) moving into the house opposite the site of the aforementioned double murder.
The pair quickly learn about their deceased neighbors and it’s that as well as the dropping house prices which has lead to them being able to rent their property. There are many urban legends which have sprung up around the killings, including the rumor that the daughter who murdered them still roams the woods looking for her next victim.
Elissa and Sarah also discover that the house at the end of the street which seemed to be empty actually has a tenant, the son of the victims and the killer’s brother, Ryan (Max Thieriot).
Upon meeting him Elissa is intrigued and sympathetic to Ryan, who is bullied and taunted by the kids at school and the other locals. However her mother is unsure of him and bans her from seeing him which only strengthens the pair’s bond.
Soon it transpires that Ryan has a dark secret in the house at the end of the street, and that secret will not only change the way Elissa feels about him but could put her and her mother in mortal danger.
Part teen romance drama and part psychopath killer horror, director Mark Tonderai does a great job balancing the elements of the excellent story, penned by David Loucka and Jonathan Mostow. The whole thing moves at a great pace, twisting and turning along the way at all the right moments, making sure the audience is never bored.
Packed with some great jumps and scares, the film also has a good level of tension aided by the actors, especially Thieriot who plays Ryan with just the right level of misunderstood angst and pent up rage. The same can be said for Lawrence, who is an intelligent and plucky heroine that avoids making the usual mistakes made by many other scream queens.
An excellent horror thriller well worth watching, House at the End of the Street keeps you entertained and involved all the way through, while throwing in some unexpected jumps and nasty moments along the way.
House at the End of the Street is well worth a viewing, although if you’re thinking of moving in, I hear the rent is ‘murder’.