House at the End of the Street

| January 11, 2013

It’s entirely possible to make a great horror movie without shedding a single drop of blood, but is it possible to make a passable slasher movie without doing so? Whether this is a question that needed to be answered is up for debate, but the PG-13 House at the End of the Street takes a stab at it. The film was in the works for quite some time, and probably would have faded into obscurity if not for the fact that it stars Jennifer Lawrence, who has become a pretty big star over the last year with starring roles in The Hunger Games and The Silver Linings Playbook. Here, she’s still just a girl in a teen horror movie. With no blood.

Elissa (Lawrence) and her mother Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) are moving from Chicago into a new home in what seems to be a rural town. They learn soon after moving in that the house next door was the site of a double murder: “brain-damaged” daughter Carrie Anne (Eva Link) murdered her parents late one night and then disappeared into the surrounding woods, where she presumably drowned in a nearby lake. Town rumors say that Carrie Anne still lives in the woods, and her brother Ryan (Max Thieriot) is fixing up his parents’ house in hopes of selling it and getting on with his life. The kids at Elissa’s new school treat Ryan like a monster, but Elissa sees another side of him.

Unfortunately for the budding couple, Sarah is also creeped out by the idea of college-age Ryan who lives in the house where his parents were murdered dating her high-school age daughter. Despite the empathy of local police officer Weaver (Gil Bellows), Sarah is uneasy about Ryan. She has a right to be, although explaining why would spoil some of the film’s (exceptionally predictable) surprises. Suffice to say that when Elissa starts sneaking around and seeing Ryan without her mother’s knowledge, things are bound to end badly.

House at the End of the Street is presented on Blu-ray in both PG-13 theatrical and “Unrated” versions, although after watching the “Unrated” version it’s pretty tough to say what must have been cut to get that PG-13. Characters are stabbed, shot, and bludgeoned all without a single drop of blood appearing on-screen. Elisabeth Shue is good as the concerned mom, but she’s mostly playing the same part she played in Piranha 3D— not that this is necessarily a complaint. Lawrence is fine, but she’s saddled with inane “teenager” dialogue. Still, she comes across better than Max Thieriot, who appears to sleepwalk through the entire film. There’s nothing much to recommend House at the End of the Street to anyone but hardcore fans of the cast, as even the most indiscriminate horror fan will likely be bored to tears long before the film’s final twists.

20th Century Fox released House at the End of the Street on DVD and Blu-ray on 8 January 2013. Special features include a behind-the-scenes featurette.

About the Author:

Jason Coffman is a film writer living in Chicago. He is author of "The Unrepentant Cinephile," and a regular contributor to Daily Grindhouse and Film Monthly as well as a member of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle. He is co-director of the Chicago Cinema Society and proud owner of 35mm prints of Andy Milligan's "Guru, the Mad Monk." Follow his long-form film writing on Medium:

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