House at the End of the Street

Because the girl next door is Jennifer
Lawrence I'm supposed to believe.
"Fear reaches out... for the girl next door."

Hello everyone! It's Thursday, and that means it's movie time! Today it came to my attention that while I had intended to, I never reviewed House at the End of the Street, a mystery horror film starring Jennifer Lawrence, of Hunger Games fame. She stars as Elissa Cassidy, daughter of fresh divorcee Sarah (Elizabeth Shue). The two have just moved to the house of their dreams, but all isn't well in paradise, thanks to weirdo kid Ryan Jacobson (Max Thieriot) who lives at the end of their street... in a house. He lives alone because when he was a young lad, his sister went crazy and murdered his parents. People believe she drowned in the river after that, but her body was never found. What Elissa discovers is that Ryan is misunderstood. She starts to get close to him, and then she discovers... some other stuff. Ryan by the way survived his sister Carol-Ann's murder spree because at the time he'd been caring for his ailing aunt far from home, and so did not get psycho-murdered. From Ryan, Elissa learns that Carol-Ann had fallen and suffered a brain injury that made her really violent.

This movie is mostly a photo op for Jennifer Lawrence's
boobs as nearly as I could tell.
Now let me spoil what actually happened, because you aren't likely going to want to watch it yourself. Ryan's sister actually died, and his crazy drug addict parents made HIM be Carol-Ann because they blamed him. Then Ryan killed his parents with a hammer one stormy night (that scene is how the movie opens). Afterward no one suspects him because he wasn't even supposed to be AT his house. After his parents were dead, Ryan found he still needed someone to be his dead sister, so he kidnapped a string of girls and held them drugged up prisoner in his basement, so that THEY could be Carol-Ann. The movie takes its sweet time building up to this big dumb reveal, and by that point it's all moot because you know Ryan is a crazy killer, and also he's dead at that point so who really cares. It doesn't make him less dead.

He's just misunderstood. Also a complete nutbar.
Going into the movie I had no idea what it was going to be about. The previews and title indicated something sinister and horror-ish The whole house angle led me (erroneously) to believe it was going to be supernatural horror in some way, when it was in fact a sort of horror mystery. I think it would have been a better movie if it was about a spooky house that made people commit murders, like a sort of 'The Shining' thing, and not just a really messed up dude murdering people and dressing as a girl sometimes. I kept waiting for something freaky or scary to happen, but generally speaking this movie is totally devoid of anything resembling a real scare. It is very circumspect in the way it reveals its not very frightening surprises, and it takes so long for details to come out that by the time they do you've already pretty much sorted it out for yourself. Despite the lack of scary things, the movie is constantly trying to use the soundtrack to inject some fear into the movie, but trust me when I say it comes up seriously short.

Jennifer Lawrence with a gun why not.
So what you're left with is a movie with a boring, muddled, poorly structured plot, that's miserably paced. It isn't just poorly executed, it's also generally a stupid story. Jennifer Lawrence delivers a sincere effort, as do Elizabeth Shue and Max Thieriot, but there's only so much you can do with a movie that is just plain dumb. Also as a sort of related aside, it seemed like the wardrobe department for this movie was just determined to show off Jennifer Lawrence's boobs as much as humanly possible, which incidentally was quite a lot. In the end I could have definitely lived without experiencing this, and I'm glad to help you avoid watching it. 

Jennifer isn't speaking to anyone until she comes to grips
with the fact that she was in this movie.
Also really guys, am I supposed to believe the girl next door is some awesome rock star who used to be the front for her own super bitchin' band? I assume that the girl next door to me is probably a cashier at Walgreens. You know what? I think that's just fine, and movies should stop setting unrealistic bars for the girl next door. We can't all be rock stars okay?

That's all for now, I'll see you next week!

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