Jennifer Lawrence provides the only Silver Linings in this cliche-ridden dingbat of a horror flick....
Fox / 101 Minutes / 2012 / Unrated / Street Date: January 8, 2013
The House at the End of the Street has been exceptionally well-casted. Of all the elements of the big-Hollywood filmmaking process, this is the element that this brain-numbing horror flick has absolutely nailed: with Oscar-winner-in-training Jennifer Lawrence sharing the screen with the iconic Elisabeth Shue and even Ally McBeal alum Gil Bellows popping up as an aw-shucks cop, this flick is populated quite well indeed.
It begs, actually, how such folks were drawn to a hokey slasher picture like this one in the first place. The House at the End of the Street is so patently dull and paint-by-numbers that it literally induces eye-rolling before it first reel is finished. We all know that bloody horror movies like this one have to adhere to a certain type of creed and rule of thumb, but Street isn't able to drum up any fun at all as it does so.
There are twists and turns you can see twenty miles away in The House at the End of the Street, so I'll leave you to be disappointed with the movie itself rather than give anything away here, but let's just say that the movie opens with a grisly murder, and then a few years later we learn that mother and daughter Shue and Lawrence have moved into the very neighborhood the murder took place in, and things "aren't quite right". There are strange figures in the woods (the murderer???), a family member of the deceased who shows a blossoming romantic interest in Lawrence, and secrets that townsfolk know but are reticent to share.
Lawrence is MVP here, of course - the Hunger Games starlet has a presence and dramatic heft that defies her college-aged years, and while Shue still is in more a Piranha mode than a Mysterious Skin one, it's always nice to see her. But even dedicatedly forgiving horror movie aficionados won't warm up to the trite genre play in The House at the End of the Street. Horror movies are allowed to be dumb sometimes (it's a gimme they often capitalize on successfully), but aside from putting together a grade-A cast, this one swings and misses.