Suburban Gothic, anyone?
Hollywood “It” girl Jennifer Lawrence stars as Elissa, a high-spirited lass in a tight-fitting tank top who moves to a new town with her single mom Sarah (Elisabeth Shue).
As luck would have it, the only real estate deal they can swing is right next door to a house where psycho teenager Carrie Anne stabbed her parents to death four years before.
Now that’s a tough rental market.
Elissa befriends Carrie Anne’s older brother Ryan (Max Theriot), who lives in the murder house, but was apparently away staying with his aunt when the killings went down.
And since the only other boy in town that’s shown an interest in her tries to rape her at a party, Elissa falls for the mysterious Ryan, who at least has the decency to drive a pretty sweet car and offer her a lift home during a timely cloudburst.
Soon Elissa is securely enmeshed in a tangled familial web, and disturbing secrets of the Norman Bates variety come bubbling to the surface.
House at the End of the Street is nothing special, but writer David Loucka and director Mark Tonderai provide sufficiently well-shuffled plot twists that keep us guessing—at least until they’re rather haphazardly explained.
Lawrence is a compelling actress even in a contrived damsel-in-distress role, and she works hard to nurture whatever emotional investment on our part she can muster.
It’s only a PG-13, so it’s light on bloody mayhem, but there are a few decent jump-scares. If you’re an adolescent dude and want to show your girlfriend a movie that’s scary enough to promote hand-holding (or whatever), but not so horrifying that she flees the room, House at the End of the Street should do the trick.