Dir. Mark Tonderai
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
When a film is advertised everywhere you know one of two things, it’s mainstream Hollywood and it’s got something that stands out from the usual jibba jabba churned out by the big studios. With quotes like “You won’t sleep for nights” and “Deeply scary and cool with an awesome twist” it’s hard not to want to watch this dark thriller and so we embraced it with the same passion and inveigher that we did recently (ed - 2012) with THE POSSESSION. Hopefully with a better way to spend 100 minutes.
Opening up with the killing of her parents we see a young Carrie-Ann wield a hammer to deadly results and as quick as it happens, she runs into the woods and is never seen again.
Skip 4 years and new neighbours Sarah (Elisabeth Shue, PIRANHA) and daughter Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence, THE HUNGER GAMES) settle in to their new home, school and job learning that their empty house next door (the one that’s at the end of the street) is occupied by the son of the dead parents.
Elissa quickly befriends the lonely Ryan (Max Trieriot) to her mother’s dismay who tries her utmost to stop the pair from seeing each other. While Ryan is bullied by the community for being the brother to a murderer with only police officer Weaver standing by his side. Moving slowly to unveil that Ryan harbours a secret from his past that could ruin everything. The reason Ryan has stayed in the house of such a harrowing crime is that he has taken in his sister, Carrie-Ann and keeps her drugged in the basement to protect her from attacking again but when she escapes, the truth behind Ryan’s captive treatment of Carrie Ann is soon revealed.
To anyone who’s seen a horror film will realise this is not so much a twist but a good story pivot and that while not surprising, it makes for a decent film. With some of the tensest moments on film we’ve seen for a while and Max Trieriot manages to play both the sorrow and evil of Ryan with such ease that when you realise that he is not as good as you think, you kind of feel sad for him. The same can’t be said for Jennifer Lawrence’ obnoxious Elissa. Someone just give the girl a slap, she plays annoying well that not just hits off some of the other characters, but the audience too but at least that stint in ‘Hunger Games’ helped her out for the running around the house in a white vest.
What some people will notice is that HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET, while bringing some jump-out-your-seat moments and proving that sometimes we don’t need masks or the supernatural to strike fear, it does play to every horror cliché seen on film and suffers from ‘American audience Ending’ syndrome which could have given this a higher rating but with the recent child version of the BATTLE ROYALE (THE HUNGER GAMES) hosting Lawrence at the helm, the children can’t see their lovable lead hacked, slashed, drugged or any other horrific treatment alas Daniel Radcliffe when he helmed the HARRY POTTER series.