Sep. 19, 2012 - Issue #883: Best of Edmonton 2012
The House at the End of the StreetNow playing
Directed by Mark Tonderai
Neighbours can be strange, and in the case of House At The End of The Street, the one next door possesses a myriad of secrets and deviousness just waiting to be unleashed.
A newly divorced mother Sarah (Elizabeth Shue) and daughter Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) move to a small, upscale rural town, into what seems to be a dream home except it's situated next to a house with a particularly dark past. Only a patch of woods— which seems to enrobe the entire neighbourhood, setting the scene for nighttime creepiness—separates the pair from the home of Ryan (Max Thieriot), whose parents were murdered years ago, allegedly by his little sister Carrie Anne.
Ryan is reclusive, trying his best to avoid the town population, who come off as rich snobs with remarks about burning the house down because it's driving down their property values. Elissa befriends Ryan, and the pair develop a romantic relationship. Soon enough, things begin to spiral downhill as it becomes evident Ryan's tragic tale is far from over.
The film comes off as low budget, but the grungy atmosphere of many of the scenes adds to its horror-thriller vibe. Director Mark Tonderai maximizes suspense, although in slightly typical genre fashion, with lots of thunder, creeping down dark hallways, mood-setting music and jump-out-of-your -seat moments.
House At The End Of The Street is wrought with twists and turns that do their best to keep viewers enthralled and engaged, but have a tendency to come across as far-fetched. The acting leans towards subpar, with the exception of Lawrence and Thieriot. Lawrence avoids the pitfalls of many horror movie female leads in becoming the damsel in distress, fighting tooth and nail to get herself out of some rather sticky situations. She's a relatable heroine who follows her heart and her instincts, even if those tend to find her tied up in a basement. Thieriot is quietly chilling, fully bringing the troubled Ryan to fruition. His passive nature makes him easily trustable—which obviously works on Elissa—before his true motives become evident.
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