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House at the End of the Street [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
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Boasting yet another terrific leading performance from Jennifer Lawrence, The House At The End Of The Street is a psychological thriller that wears its stripes by having a genre cliché present and correct in its title. It’s content to play with it though, and it sets its scene as Elisabeth Shue’s Sarah, the mother of Lawrence’s character, moves them into a new property that would ordinarily be well out of their price range. The reason it isn’t? That’d be the murder that took place next door. Enter, then, Max Thieriot’s Ryan as the survivor of said incident, and the mystery of what exactly took place deepens.
It’s all a bit by the numbers in truth, but what lifts The House At The End Of The Street are two excellent acting performances. Both Shue and Lawrence give it their all here, and the film benefits enormously. Credit too should go to director Mark Tonderai, who follows up the quietly impressive Hush by injecting The House At The End Of The Street with a smattering of very, very impressive moments. The end result is a film that’s notably better than the story itself would suggest. The release isn’t beefed up a great deal by much in the extras department, incidentally, but the presentation of the film is suitably solid. --Jon Foster
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In order to get us behind him though the film makers employ some not so subtle tactics, the first boy we meet turns out to be a jerk, and the reason we know that is he's shown showing off in a swimming pool. In case you didn't get he's a jerk though they next show him partying instead of doing charity work. Not content the film then has him trying to force himself on our protagonist, just to make it clear again that he's a jerk. The film's clumsy approach and heavy handedness continue as the Ryan is revealed to be a misunderstood, sensitive, intelligent young man who Elissa Cassidy quickly falls for, much to her mother's unease. Some not so subtle foreshadowing is woven in as Ree's mother warns her that some people are too damage to be fixed. We quickly find out Ryan's violent brain damaged sister is very much alive and living locked up in the basement, she escapes several times and runs around like a zombie. However are things quite what they seem? I'd guess not.
The film also has a subplot about Elissa joining a high school band or something which ultimately doesn't lead anywhere in the end. The film basically employees a few jump scares, horror clichés and plenty of the other twists and turns we've come to expect. The early reveal of the sister as the antagonist far too early set us up to expect things are probably not what they seem. After Scream (1996) the characters satirically warn us the killer always come's back for one last scare, true to formula this film does just that too, not to mention Elissa leaving a hammer on the floor while being chased by our killer. The ending with it's lack of resolution also felt fairly rushed and forced. All in all there's not that much horror in the movie at all, it's much more a teen drama, the results are flat and lackluster.
Not only is the script of the film in a pretty bad way but the cinematography is also really ugly, a lot of the film is shot with this yellowish green tint making everyone look quite sickly, Jennifer Lawrence is often filmed from the waist up too making her face look far fleshier and plumper than it really is, it's not a very flattering angle. The films also seems to have Jennifer Lawrence in as many low cut or tank tops as possible which is kind of sleazy considering this is PG13 film. Lawrence is doing her best in this film with the material she's given, but it's not all that good in the end. She's also too old to be playing a teenager.
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