Film Review: House at the End of the Street
But J-Law’s here.
And I’ve still got respect for Elisabeth Shue for being in Piranha 3D (not the mediocre sequel).
It also has “hate” in its official acronym (House at the End of the Street). I’m in.
TL;DR Average twist thriller. Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue and Max Thieriot (Bates Motel represent!) do the best they can with a boring and stupid plot. Obviously made pre-Hunger Games. 3 out of 5 stars.
The stars are pretty much for the actors. And the final twist is cute.
The plot isn’t anything too brain-frying. J-Law and her mum (Elisabeth. Duh) move into a new house. They find out the house next door (at the end of the street!!!!!1) has a sordid past: the daughter of the family murdered her parents and disappeared. The son (Max) lives there now. The neighbourhood snobs him off because he’s creepy and is bad for their property values. Elisabeth trusts her new people, so naturally Jennifer wants hi D. They see each other for a bit. Then things get weird when we find out that the sister he secretly keeps in the basement is actually just the latest in a procession of random girls he kidnaps and makes his “sister.” Jennifer is to be the latest victim once she knows the truth, but she and her mum survive.
The final twist involves the revelation that following the real sister’s death as a little girl, Max’s drug-fucked parents forced him into being his sister. Parental favouritism is totes adorbs.
This movie really is closer to a 2 star affair, but Jennifer Lawrence is just wonderful to watch on-screen.
Much like The Possession, the big problem is simply that it’s boring, predictable and meaningless. There’s nothing new or special here. It gets the job done well, but that’s essentially all it is: getting the job done.
Why I hate this movie:
There’s not even any gore, the jump scares are obvious, and the kill count is low. One of the supposedly biggest jump scares is when Jennifer looks next to her in Max’s car’s boot and sees the body of the waitress. She’s not bloody or disfigured or anything remotely horrifying. She’s just kinda blue.
This movie makes me feel kinda blue. Dat wasted talent.
I hated that the elitist, litigious, 1%ish neighbours turn out to be proven right. Worse, Max’s greatest defender, the sheriff, is killed by Max. This happens very soon after he defends Max to the bitchy parents of the Hot Bully.
They’re threatening to sue because Max broke their son’s leg during a fight. Literally, like, 100 people saw Max’s car get trashed by the group of bullies, then saw them gang bash Max. Are you retarded?
The Sister who Max has in the present day escapes her cell a couple of times and runs for it. She even grabs a knife. Um, maybe you should be using that on Max? Just a thought.
Even though Hot Bully turns out to be a fucking psychopath, his original dismissal by Jennifer was pretty harsh. She goes to a party and he tries to make a move on her. He’s obviously drunk as fuck (Jennifer even points this out), and he doesn’t initially back off when she says no. And, like, he isn’t choking or grabbing her roughly. He’s just trying to hook in. After softly leaning her down on the bed, the message gets through and he stops, but Jennifer slags him off like he fisted her without lube. Stuck up bitch. He was drunk, you said no, he kept trying , you said no again, he stopped. Get over it.
No points for his actions later, though. His reaction to Max being at a school function is to publicly destroy his car. Then one of his buddies follows that up with setting Max’s house on fire. What the actual fuck?
Jennifer Lawrence isn’t a fantastic singer.
Oh, and Max shows Jennifer a tree that you can apparently see a face in. I didn’t. Lies!
Reasons to watch:
J-Law, baby. J-Law.
And she looks so much better as a blonde.
Elisabeth Shue is back in form. Though her character is pretty one-note, she does get a little depth when Jennifer brings up her past. In fact, it manifests as one of the best lines of the movie. Elisabeth has just gone on a massive, partially drunken tirade against Max after inviting him over for dinner. Jennifer is not impressed: “Just because you were some wasted slut in high school doesn’t mean I’m gonna be.” Burn.
Jennifer also picks up the movie’s best line. It comes earlier, when Elisabeth is shocked that Jennifer spent time with Max:
Elisabeth: “You went to his house?”
Jennifer: “We dropped shrooms and had unprotected sex.”
Girl knows her sarcasm.
I gotta give Jennifer points for trying to sing. Even if it was unimpressive.
The cop (despite his error) is pretty boss at defending Max to the neighbours. They really are terrible, sweater-vest wearing douchebags.
Sister 1 (the one we see first in present day) is pretty resourceful. In order to free herself from her cell, she bangs on the door, which has the key left on the top of the door frame. When it falls off from the vibrations, she catches it on a piece of cardboard she’d slid under the door, then just slides it back in. Voila. That’s good work.
Jennifer ain’t no slouch, either. She kicks the back seat of Max’s car out to escape through the car, from the boot. Clever girl.
She and Elisabeth make a decent tag team when it comes time to take him down. Jennifer shoots him frantically a couple of times. Then, when he tries to make his final scare attack on an unsuspecting Jennifer, Elisabeth comes out of fucking nowhere (having previously been stabbed) and smashes his face with a hammer. Hot.
Max snapping Hot Bully’s leg during the fight was awesome. He totally deserved it.
Oh, and in another display of ingenuity, in order to free herself from some light restraints, Jennifer presses a hot light bulb to her wrist strap to burn though it. Bitch knows her shit. Bonus points for the pain, too.
It’s very run-of-the-mill (that’s not to say that run-of-the-mill thrillers can’t be kinda amazing), but you know your Hunger Games-induced Jennifer Lawrence obsession will force you to watch it. 3 out of 5 stars.