House At The End Of The Street REVIEW
Jennifer was shocked to discover that it WASN'T a Die Hard fancy dress party.
Release Date: 21 September 2012
15 | 100 minutes
Distributor: Momentum Pictures
Director: Mark Tonderai
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Max Thieriot, Elisabeth Shue, Gil Bellows, Eva Link
It’s utterly frustrating when a horror thriller has one or two inventive concepts fizzing away at its core, including the central mystery, yet they’re smothered by a ton of clichés and eye-rolling logic leaps. That’s the case with this lukewarm new chiller.
Jennifer Lawrence’s Elissa moves with her mother (Elizabeth Shue) to a small town, is warned by smug, wealthy neighbours aabout the weird kid who lives in the creepy, urban legend-spawning and possibly haunted house his parents were murdered in – by his sister, no less – and soon realises that she doesn’t fit in. But she’s drawn to the loner, Ryan (Max Thieriot) and attraction blossoms until the terrible secret lurking in the house begins to threaten their relationship…
Among the bright spots is Lawrence, who makes Elissa a sassy, bright, realistic teenager. The mother/daughter dynamic she shares with Shue is, at first, one of the better things about the film as the actresses spar gently.
Trouble is, once the third act kicks in, both characters are manipulated to the plot’s requirements, and things switch from scary to silly. Director Mark Tonderai has clearly seen a lot of thrillers and borrows liberally, convinced, among other things, that thudding ambient sound followed by silence equals pant-wetting terror. It does not.
Like a street shyster looking to make a score with a shell game or a round of Three-Card Monte, Tonderai keeps trying to play with your expectations. Unfortunately, you’re likely to end up feeling ripped off.
James White twitter.com/jamwhite
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