HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET
Everyone Has Secrets
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Max
Thieriot, Gil Bellows,
Elizabeth Shue, Eva Link,
Nolan Gerard Funk, Allie
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 101 minutes
Distributor: Relativity Media
Director: Mark Tonderai
Executive Producer: Allison Silver, Sonny Mallhi
Producer: Aaron Ryder, Peter Block, Hal
Writer: David Loucka, Jonathan Mostow
Address Comments To:Jesse A. Cohn
Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO, Relativity Media (Rogue Pictures/Overture Films)
8899 Beverly Blvd., Suite 510
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: (310) 859-1250; Fax: (310) 859-1254
The movie begins with the brutal murder of two parents by their deranged daughter. Four years later, Sarah (Elizabeth Shue) and her somewhat estranged daughter Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) arrive from Chicago at their newly rented house in their newly adopted town.
The house borders the property of another house, the site of the two murders. Recently divorced and trying to re-connect with her daughter in the process, the mother starts working the night shift at a local hospital. This leaves her daughter to fend for herself much of the time. They are quickly made aware (the mother at work, the daughter at school) of the story of those murders as well as the urban legends of the deranged daughter still alive and living in the woods! The movie then reveals that the estranged son of the murdered couple now lives in that house and has been keeping his sister locked in the basement.
Trying to fit in at her new school, Elissa attends a supposed poker fundraiser for world hunger sponsored by the school jock. When the jock hits on her, she pushes him forcefully away and begins walking home. Walking along the road, a car stops by her. Behind the wheel is Ryan, the estranged son, offering her a ride. Elissa quickly finds Ryan a very likeable young man, “sad but sweet.” They begin spending a lot of time together. Becoming concerned, Elissa’s mother forbids them spending time together alone, which only encourages them all the more.
Things seem to progress as a kind of sweet story as Elissa seeks to rescue Ryan, the lost soul, but, when Ryan is attacked by the same jock who had hit on Elissa, Ryan snaps the jock’s ankle and runs off. A lone cop has stood up for Ryan all along against the “villagers” who mostly want to “grab for their pitchforks.” The cop befriends Elissa’s mom and offers to check on Elissa when she disappears after Ryan’s fight.
Trouble ensues. Concerned for Ryan, Elissa enters his house next door and discovers things are not as they seem. She finds herself trapped in the same bedroom where the sister had been locked up. The cop checking up on her winds up dead, and so it falls to the mother to save the day.
This movie is mostly what you would expect from a psychological thriller. The first two-thirds contain a lot of fun and humorous moments. The story does twists and turns as you would expect, though not entirely believably. The performances are very good. The story, for the most part, is engaging. Though there’s blood and violence, as you would expect for the genre, it’s more of a psychological thriller than a slasher or horror movie. Much of the actual violence is suggested rather than shown directly. The finale, however, is more graphic. There’s also some underage drinking, drunkenness, drug content, and lewd dialogue. This objectionable content warrants extreme caution, even though the mother and daughter overcome the villain in the end.
The first two-thirds of HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET is entertaining, with some humor. The story has plenty of twists, though some aren’t believable. The performances are also good. However, there’s underage drinking, drunkenness, drug content, and lewd dialogue. The violence and blood are subdued until the end. The worldview in HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET turns out to be moral, but, otherwise, extreme caution is warranted.