When I sat down to watch House at the End of the Street, I had somehow convinced myself it was a remake (as are most films in this genre). To my surprise, it wasn’t, but I went into this movie with very low expectations (as I try to do with most new films in this genre). Surprising me even further was that I didn’t hate this movie, but before you go further thinking this is a raving review let me explain.
House at the End of the Street is about a single mother named Dr. Sarah Cassidy (Elisabeth Shue) and her daughter, Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) who move to a small town for a fresh start. Elissa learns that the neighboring house next to them was the site of a double murder. Fortunately, this film offered some great realty advice: if you’re looking for a cheap house to buy or rent, maybe look for one that’s near a crime scene. When Sarah tells Elissa that is the only reason they can afford to rent, Elissa seems a little taken aback but seems reassured when her mother tells her the house is empty. Or is it?
After attending a party at another neighbors house, they learn that the son of the murdered couple, Ryan Jacobson (Max Thieriot), is actually still living in the house and that the daughter, Carrie Ann, who committed the murders, was never found and was presumed dead… and there’s that little urban legend that she’s still living in the woods. They also learn that their neighbors are kind of jerks. Instead of sympathy for the guy for losing his parents, they’re mad at him for staying in the house because it’s dragging down the home values. Lovely neighborhood they’re living in. It’s at this party that Elissa meets Tyler (Nolan Gerard Funk) and where the story really starts to take off.
After attending a party with Tyler and learning he’s not much better than his parents, Elissa runs out and starts to walk home when a car pulls up beside her and asks if she needs a ride. It’s Ryan Jacobson. She tries to lie to him about where she lives, but he saw her move in. After refusing one more time, it starts to rain and she suddenly changes her mind and gets in the car.
After her car ride with Ryan, she starts to drop her guard about him and begins getting to know him. She sees him as a kind, gentle, damaged soul and wants to be close to him, but her mother is quick to be on the defensive (typical mother) and make the “no being together alone while I’m not home” rule.
Maybe Elissa should have followed that rule because she’ll learn pretty quickly that Ryan may not be who he says he is. It’s true that everyone has secrets, but some people have really dark and messed up secrets.
I wouldn’t classify this as a horror film, but rather a suspenseful thriller, only without the suspense. Some parts of this movie were really predictable and though it began to pick up towards the end, the fact that you saw the whole thing coming kind of takes away from it. I enjoyed it, but I’ll never watch it again. Check it out if you’re curious enough, otherwise, I heard Frankenweenie came out on DVD this week…
Written by: Katie Sperduti