“House at the End of the Street” is dull, poorly executed, and horribly uninspired.
“House” tells the story of a single mother (Elisabeth Shue) and her daughter (Jennifer Lawrence) as they seek to start a new life in a new neighborhood. As it happens, this particular neighborhood holds a blood-splattered past, centered on a grisly double homicide.
Strangely though, “House” seems more interested in being a plodding teen melodrama than a horror film. All the standard set pieces are there. The single mother seeking a fresh start. The teenage daughter adjusting to her new life. The introverted neighbor boy who keeps his sister locked in a basement dungeon. But he is clearly the sensitive type, because he has a beard.
I actually found myself wishing the movie would devolve into B-movie slasher schlock, but “House” ignored my pleas and awkwardly shambled toward banality.
Once the action finally picks up in the third act, it leads to a reveal ripped straight out of “Psycho.” While that may seem like a spoiler, those who have seen “Psycho” presumably have some level of appreciation for quality horror, and wouldn’t be caught dead watching “House at the End of the Street.”
This movie seems suited to those who lack even the slightest grounding in film appreciation. They’re the group that will think the cinematic techniques ripped straight out of Polanski and Raimi’s playbooks are new and original. They’re the ones who will shrug off the lack of tension or clear character motivation.
Basically, “House” may mildly entertain those who felt “Twilight” lacked the appropriate amount of teen angst. Everyone else is likely to find themselves scratching their heads at the appearance of up-and-comer Jennifer Lawrence in such a mind-numbing paint-by-numbers snoozefest.