confusing jumble, drama, Elizabeth Shue, entertainment, girl next door, House at the End of the Street, Jennifer Lawrence, Max Thieriot, most boring horror film, psychopathic murderer, serial killer, social pariah
WARNING: THIS FILM IS SO AWFUL I WAS COMPELLED TO RESORT TO STRONG LANGUAGE AND LOTS OF SPOILERS. BASICALLY BUSINESS AS USUAL.
I’m not sure what this film was aiming at. Psychological teen drama masquerading as the most boring horror film ever?
I can sum up this film in a word: dull. I can sum it up in 3 words: Really fucking dull.
Plot: mother Sarah (Elizabeth Shue) and daughter Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) move into a house. The owners of the house next door were brutally murdered by their own daughter. Their son Ryan (Max Thieriot)- a social pariah – continues to live there alone. The film charts the story of the unpleasant romance between Elissa and Max, while the entire community (including Sarah) are against them. Ryan’s sister was never caught and is believed to be living out in the woods.
The film spends its time ensuring you hate the locals and side with Ryan and Elissa. But then young women start getting kidnapped. And we find out early on that Ryan has his sister under lock and key in the basement. Then he accidentally kills her. Only it turns out that the girl in the basement isn’t his sister. Ryan is a nut job, who accidentally killed his own sister when he was a kid. Then his parents forced him to spend the rest of his life dressed up as a girl. So he killed them. And now he kidnaps girls to be a replacement for the lost sibling. And now he wants Elissa.
What? No I’m not making it up! That really is the “plot”. You’d have thought that with that much intrigue – at least the film would be interesting. And you’d be wrong. Very wrong. All of this information is heaped upon you in the last few minutes. Up until then it’s just a confusing jumble of teen angst and weirdness.
No one in this film is likeable. Elissa is only tolerable because everyone else in the film is so revolting. Ryan seems pleasant enough – right up until the point you discover he is a psychopathic murderer and kidnapper.
This film doesn’t work on any level. It is so disjointed it is uncomfortable to watch. You know something strange is going on but you don’t know what it is. Ultimately you feel cheated that the locals and Sarah are vindicated for their hostility toward Ryan – rather than being castigated for ostracising him and ignoring what was taking place in his home. The only concerns of the locals are property prices and keeping up appearances.
Let me just stress this again. The people in this film are utterly VILE, vacuous and revolting specimens of humanity. To the extent that even after you discover what a mentalist Ryan really is – you’re still pretty much on his side.
I have no idea what the point of this turgid, unengaging snooze fest could possibly be, apart from an attempt at boring the viewer to death. Why it has been marketed as a horror film, I have absolutely no idea – possibly because calling it a thriller would have constituted a serious breach of the trade’s descriptions act.
Oh and also – why is it called House at the End of the Street, when there is no street and they all appear to be living in the middle of a fucking wood? Surely a better title for this film would have been “Murder House at the Edge of a Forest”? Or how about “Suburban Teen Angst Melodrama in the Trees”? Or even more plausibly “Boring Shit that Happens. In a Wood”.