• House At The End Of The Street



    Released by: Fox

    Released on: January 8, 2013.

    Director:
    Mark Tonderai
    Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue, Max Thieriot

    Year: 2012

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    The Movie:


    Directed by Mark Tonderai, 2012’s The House At The End Of The Street may sound like something akin to a Roger Watkins or Wes Craven movie but nope, no dice. It is, instead, a fairly predictable and generic thriller that, while nice enough to look at, doesn’t offer up much more than a couple of well played jump scares.


    Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) has recently lost her father and she and her mom, Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) have just moved into a house near the end of the street. They learn that the house next door, which happens to be at the end of the street for those keeping track, was once the scene of a murder – it seems that a girl named Carrie Anne Jacobson killed her mother and father and the only reason her brother Ryan (Max Thieriot) survived is because he was living with his aunt at the time. While the concerned neighbors tried to have the house torn down and turned into parkland, Ryan has moved back in and seems to keep odd hours.


    As Elissa settles into her new school, she meets dreamy neighborhood hunk Tyler (Nolan Gerard Funk). The two hit it off but at a party one night he gets wasted and tries to pressure her into having sex with him – no dice, Tyler! She leaves his place and walks home and just as it’s about to rain, who should drive by in an eighties model sedan? Why, mysterious Ryan Jacobson, of course – and he’s even dreamier than Tyler! The perfect gentleman, Ryan drives Elissa home without trying to rape her and she shows her appreciate for this by giving him one of her CDs. It seems her heard her practicing out on the porch the other day and dug her fresh new sound (which kinda sounds like Jewel, actually – which is weird because Lawrence actually looks quite a bit like her, without the snaggletooth). So yeah, Ryan and Elissa are soon an item and while Sarah cautions them about spending time alone together when she’s not around, Tyler and his dumb jock pals are none too happy about this. When Ryan shows up at the battle of the bands to see Elissa perform, they rough him up and trash his car. When Ryan retaliates, it seems that there might be more to him than Elissa realizes and his spooky crazy secret is soon revealed!


    So yeah, if you half way pay attention to this one you’re going to see where it is going pretty quickly. Credit where credit is due, the cast involved all do pretty decent work here with Shue impressing as the overbearing mother who tries too hard to make up for past grievances. Lawrence is fine as the cocky teenager and Thieriot likeable enough as the troubled mysterious boy next door. The cinematography is perfectly nice and does a good job of using the woods that surround the suburban homes where most the drama plays out as an effective backdrop for spooky happenings. Sadly, outside of some jump scares those spooky happenings never materialize. This turns out to be more of a psychological thriller than the horror movie it was marketed as, which would be all well and good if it offered up any psychological thrills, but the film falls short there as well.


    We know pretty much exactly where this one is going way too early to wind up caring. Sure, it looks nice, it’s competently acted and it features some pretty good set design and sound work but none of that technical polish makes up for a story that is just way too easy to figure out. As such, there’s no suspense, no thrills, and no scares – and for that matter, no reason to bother with this one.


    Note: The Blu-ray release contains both the theatrical cut and the extended cut. This review is based on the extended cut, which runs a few minutes longer but doesn’t seem to contain anything that might push the PG-13 rated theatrical version into R rated territory.


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    The movie arrives on Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 2.40.1 widescreen. The movie was shot on film and grain is prevalent throughout while colors look just a little bit flat here, intentionally giving the film a bit of a retro look at times. Detail is generally pretty strong through and black levels are good. There are no issues with noise reduction or edge enhancement and the image stays film-like throughout. Skin tones look nice, there are no compression artifacts and texture is fine. All in all, this is a pretty solid effort on the picture quality front from Fox.


    The only audio option on the disc is an English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track, with optional subtitles offered up in English SDH and Spanish. This is a reasonably aggressive track that boosts the levels a few times throughout the movie to make the jump scares a bit jumpier and scarier than they would be otherwise. Those moments notwithstanding, the levels are otherwise nicely balanced and dialogue remains clean and clear. As you’d except from a brand new movie like this, there are no problems with hiss or distortion and channel separation helps to add atmosphere and tension in a few key scenes. The score sounds good, bass response is strong enough to provide some kick, and there’s not really anything to complain about here, the movie sounds just fine.


    Extras are pretty slim on this release. While we do get the extended cut of the feature in addition to the theatrical cut, there’s not a whole lot else here. The ten minute featurette Journey Into Terror: Inside House at the End of the Street is a standard making of segment that includes footage shot on set during the production spliced in alongside some brief cast and director interview sound bites. Aside from that? There’s a trailer for the feature and trailers for a few other Fox titles, animated menus and chapter selection. As this is a combo pack release, both DVD and digital copy versions of the movie are also included inside the case, which fits inside a cardboard sleeve featuring identical cover art to that found on the cover insert.


    The Final Word:


    Fox’s Blu-ray release of The House At The End Of The Street earns top marks for a very strong technical presentation but the movie itself is a bit of a disappointment. Though it’s fairly well acted and nicely shot, the story never quite catches hold the way that you’d hope it wood and the end result is a pretty generic, forgettable film.


    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!





















    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      My daughter was amazed that I knew the end of the movie about 20 minutes in. :-D It also made me feel old....boys these days are into that Hunger Games broad, who's playing the daughter of the woman I had a crush on when I was their age. Elisabeth Shue is still HOT.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Haha. Good point. And your daughter is young enough that this probably seems fresh and interesting. We're old and jaded.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      I considered telling her to watch SLEEPAWAY CAMP, but then figured that would be poor parenting. :D
    1. Nolando's Avatar
      Nolando -
      Jennifer Lawrence in a wifebeater. That would be all except that I think this film has possibly the hottest mother-daughter duo of all time. Jeez, what I would do in there...
    1. Andrew Monroe's Avatar
      Andrew Monroe -
      I like Shue and Lawrence was really good in WINTER'S BONE...but I wanted to hurt this movie.