House at the End of the Street
An interesting story can only go so far - at some point, you have to learn how to make a movie.
September 23, 2012 5:30 pmKaitlin McManus
In an interview for The Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence said that she only does movies with a good script - hence why she hasn't done many blockbusters. She dropped the ball on this one. House at the End of the Street (HATES, for short) has an interesting enough story, but the way its told is boring, bordering on dreadful.
Elissa Cassidy (Lawrence) and her mother Sarah (Elizabeth Shue) move to a huge house in an unnamed, upscale town next to a state park. Apparently their rent is cheap because there was a double murder at the house next door - a girl named Carrie Anne Jacobson killed both her parents and drowned in the dam when she ran away. Her brother Ryan (Max Theirot), who was away when the murder was committed, still lives in the house all by himself. Elissa strikes up a friendship with him, and eventually they start dating. Sounds like a love story, but the guy has some heavy baggage - not exactly horror movie material. Except that Carrie Anne still lives in the house's basement and she frequently tries to escape to the Cassidy house and repeat what she did to her parents. This covers the first hour and fifteen minutes or so of the movie, but plot twists come out of the woodworks after Ryan pulls a Gwen Stacey when Carrie Anne escapes again. It starts with you learning that Ryan is one seriously messed up kid, and it just keeps coming. I'm serious, it's one on top of the other, right up until the last frame. That being said, the movie isn't that confusing if you're paying attention. Good luck trying to explain it to a friend cutting back on theater visits, but if you see it (or at least read the Wikipedia page) you won't have a problem.
I don't understand why directors feel the need to attach training wheels to horror movies nowadays. I wish I could give away the plot twists to prove that they actually have a fairly compelling story, one that's twisted to the point of madness. And they save it all for the last twenty minutes! The biggest plot point is in the last frame! Why ruin a movie like that? If they had focused on how utterly insane Ryan is instead of trying to pass him off as normal, I would have been freaking out during the entire runtime. Instead, I spent half of it wondering if I was in the right movie. It shouldn't even be classified as a thriller, it's just a boring film. Even Lawrence looked bored, like she knew that this movie was going to suck no matter how good the actual story was. Actually, everyone's performances weren't bad - it was really in the writing and editing processes where HATES fell apart. The intended creativity of the camera shots were actually just slightly nauseating, and the music cues were so cheesy I could feel the entire theater's eyes rolling. It was a horror show, and not in the way director Mark Tonderai intended.
If you have to see it, rent it. Otherwise, it's not worth more than a quick read over the Wikipedia page. Just another watered down, PG-13 "horror" movie to fade away to insignificance.
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