Review - House at the End of the Street

House at the End of the Street (2012), PG-13, 101 minutes - My fiance and I decided the other day that we were in the mood for a scary movie.  From the trailer that we had seen part of, we thought that House at the End of the Street might do the trick.  We were under the impression that it was a horror flick, but House at the End of the Street only sets itself up like a horror film.  It really turns out to be more of a psychological thriller.  That's not to say that it is bad, it just wasn't quite what we were expecting.

House at the End of the Street gets its start when a mother and daughter (Sarah and Elissa, played by Elisabeth Shue and Jennifer Lawrence respectively) move into a house that they are newly renting.  The house just through the trees (at the end of the street - see what they did there?) has a bit of history and is looked down on by the rest of the neighborhood.  You see, a family used to live there.  That is, until the daughter stabbed the parents to death.  It is now inhabited by the son, Ryan (Max Thieriot), who at the time of the killings was away taking care of his aunt. The other neighbors don't think very highly of the property (or the son) as they feel that its history has an adverse effect on their property values.  After meeting Ryan, Elissa feels that he is misunderstood and begins hanging out with him and trying to get to know him better.  Despite reassurances from a police officer (Weaver, played by Gil Bellows) that she meets at the hospital she works at, Sarah doesn't like the idea of Elissa spending time with Ryan.  Defiant teenagers and paranoid parents make up most of the rest of the film where we learn that there's something not quite right at the House at the End of the Street, but its not what we're led to believe.

Considering that we were expecting a run of the mill horror flick, I was surprised when I saw the familiar faces of Shue, Lawrence, and Bellows (all I can think of whenever I see Gil Bellows in anything is his role as Tommy in The Shawshank Redemption, and that always brings a smile to my face).  Between the three of them, the quality of acting in such a film was better than usual.  Max Thieriot did well in portraying Ryan's quiet demeanor (is he a nice, innocent young man, or is he odd and hiding something?). The story line, while having a couple of strange twists is pretty straightforward.  There are a couple of stabbings, but they mostly happen just off screen and blood is fairly minimal, even for a movie with a PG-13 rating.  With a batch of 'proper' horror films coming out around this time of year, House at the End of the Street could easily get lost in the shuffle, but its an entertaining, fairly quick moving, suspenseful thriller.  I wouldn't suggest running out to the local theater to take it in, but it would probably be worth a rental.

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