House at the End of the Street Blu-ray Review
After divorcing from her husband, overbearing Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) and her high school aged daughter, Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence), move to a new neighborhood to start fresh. It’s a beautiful home, tucked away from all of their problems. And they were able to get it cheap, too. See, four years earlier, a teenage girl killed her parents in—you guessed it—the house at the end of the street.
It’s not long before Sarah starts hearing noises at three in the morning (the ghost of Carrie-Anne? Did she really drown after she made herself an orphan?) and Elissa discovers that the sole survivor of the double murder, Carrie-Anne’s brother Ryan (Max Thieriot, who played Julianne Moore’s son in Atom Egoyan’s CHLOE), is still living in—you guessed it again—the house at the end of the street.
The movie is called—oh, now you’re really on a roll!—HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET. The title takes cue from Wes Craven’s debut THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (1972) and the Italian exploitation flick THE HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK (1980), but this movie won’t be seen by any of those movies’ admirers—just as the target HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET viewer wouldn’t know what to do when faced with some of the more graphic events that took place in those movies.
HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET is meant for the teenage crowd (note the rating). And it might work for them when watching it in a mall movie theater, as it’s the kind of horror flick that creates its scares out of many of the things that teens think make a movie scary: random bumps and thuds and crashes. It even troubles itself to add in the animal-out-of-nowhere cheat (the cliché calls for cats, but this movie has birds, if that makes any difference).
Even past her prime, Elisabeth Shue (who, in her defense, is currently staging a minor comeback via CSI) is above this material. So, too, is Jennifer Lawrence. A talent like Lawrence has no business being in a flop like HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET. But it’s easy to forgive her for signing on—turns out, HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET was actually shot in 2010, before she earned her first Oscar nomination and landed the role of Katniss Everdeen in THE HUNGER GAMES films. And since so many successful actresses tried to hone their skills and get their big break through the genre (from Jamie Lee Curtis to Renée Zellweger), it somehow seems OK she would partake.
Directed by Mark Tonderai (a former BBC Radio 1 DJ who also directed 2009’s HUSH) and co-written by David Louka (2011’s thriller DREAM HOUSE) and Jonathan Mostow (2009’s Bruce Willis vehicle SURROGATES), HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET, from title to tactics, is—and will likely stay—one of the laziest, most unimaginative horror movies of the decade.
Video: 2.35:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The video transfer is strong and crisp throughout. The darker colors (particularly in the basement scenes and nighttime exterior shots) are deep and add to the movie’s atmosphere.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. While the sudden bangs and crashes are major cheats in horror movies, they are highly effective through rear speakers when watching at home.
Journey Into Terror: Inside HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET (9:59): This standard making-of featurette uses interviews (with stars Jennifer Lawrence and Elisabeth Shue, director Mark Tonderai, producer Aaron Ryder, and more) and behind-the-scenes footage to give an overview of HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET’s production.