House At The End Of The Street (2012)

I'm not sure if Netflix has a sense of humor or is just trolling me because they like to see me in misery, but House At The End OF The Street has popped up as their main suggestion for what seems to be forever. So I gave in. After all, it stars Jennifer Lawrence, multiple time Oscar nominee, and Elizabeth Shue, who all men of a certain age, myself included, have had a crush on since the original Karate Kid, or Back To The Future II, or Cocktail - take your pick. Unfortunately, for them and us frankly, Lawrence or Shue, don't really get to do anything that remotely makes use of their considerable talents here.

What we have instead of something innovative or challenging for the actors is your basic run of the mill teenage horror flick. In a set up we've seen hundreds of times before, Lawrence and her mom (Shue) move into a secluded house that happens to be next door to a house where a couple of people were murdered years ago. Everyone in town hates the house, (although they love to talk about the murders) and it's current occupant, the son of the folks who were killed there.

Paint by numbers MTV shock ensues. There's a crazy party. Some asshole kids. Lawrence falls for the brooding neighbor guy (Max Theriot) - despite her mothers misgivings.  Lawrence stands by her man, despite him being an absolute creep show. All these beats can be found in "Writing a Horror Film for 15 Year Olds" coming soon from whatever company publishes Twilight. There is an attempt at a twist, and for about 30 seconds I though they were going to go into some rather fucked up Sleepaway Camp territory. But alas, it was not to be. Just like everything else in the film, it makes it about 60% of the way there, turns and runs like a scared five year old.

I wasn't expecting a lot from House At The End Of The Street (abbreviated HATES by the producers. Although that seems rather arbitrary, ignoring one "The" but not the other.) Part of me did want to check it out to see why such talented folks would choose to join a project like this. After watching I'm still stumped. Lawrence's role could have been played by "any blonde actress" and Shue doesn't fare any better. Then again she was in Piranha remake so take that for what it is.

The story for the film had apparently been kicking around for a almost a decade, which by itself is not a bad thing, but it feels like one of those scripts that's been through the studio ringer at least a dozen times with 20 people reading it and changing stuff as it went along. It would be interesting to see what the original product was meant to be, becasue I can't for the life of me think that anyone actually sat down to write this.

House At The End Of The Street is best surmised as unfulfilled. If you want to through something on in the background while you do needlepoint just to hear Jennifer Lawrence screaming or your mom won't let you watch any one of the dozens of similar films that execute the concept better than this - film could be for you. However if you are looking for a tight, biting, challenging, scary horror film, keep looking, it's not to be found here.

House At The End Of The Street is currently streaming on Netflix. Hopefully they will stop suggesting it for me now.

* and 1/2 out of *****

Enjoy Every Sandwich.

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