A Little Unusual
"HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET" review
Published: Friday, September 21, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012 11:09
“HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET” is the kind of film where you find yourself guessing the ending from the very beginning. In a rare and delightful twist, however, it is also the rare kind of film where you will almost inevitably be wrong. More psychological thriller than horror (emphasis on the thrill), H.A.E.S. provides a pleasant sense of building, scaring, and relieving that most horrors cannot seem to achieve these days.
H.A.E.S. follows the story, mainly, of Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence). Elissa and her mother Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) move from Chicago into a new home out in the deep suburbs, bordering on rural woods. The only reason they could afford the place was because of the double homicide that occurred at the neighboring house not long ago, where the traumatized Ryan Jacobsen (Max Thieroit) now resides. Ryan, whose parents were the victims of the murder by his sister, must cope with the rumors of the town and takes comfort in Elissa’s open manner. The problem is that Ryan, whose sister Carrie Anne (Eva Link), is storing a secret of his own.
While composed of many of the cliche elements of a typical horror film, H.A.E.S. manages to make them seem tried-and-true rather than worn. Its scare and startle locations are predictable in most cases, yet the audience may still become so invested that the ability to read the approaching startle only serves to escalate the tension and make the scare all the more successful. Still, the film fails to break through the traditional. It never feels entirely unique.
Perhaps the strongest aspect of the film, which was shot in 2010 and only now released due to Jennifer Lawrence’s recent “HUNGER GAMES” fame, is the intelligence, strength, and simultaneous feminity shown by the female character in many of the typical unpleasant scenarios. She is wary of rides with strange men; she breaks glass and has the physical strength to lift herself through a window, yet still exudes attractiveness that seems entirely natural. Thieriot also excels in his portrayal of the wounded and secretly troubled Ryan, though the role demands more stoicism than deep acting.
Neither the best or the worst film you could see this weekend, “HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET” forms a nice middle ground. It is an entertaining film and features exactly what you would expect of your goreless horror-thriller, plus a bonus of psychological twists and turns, yet that is all that it is. If you want to ramp up your October season and begin falling into Halloween, this is a good excuse to get that date of yours closer to you.