The Flick Chicks

Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

The House at the End of the Street | Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue, Max Theriot, Gil Bellows | Review

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  3_Chicks_Small Jacqueline Monahan

Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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The House at the End of the Street | Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue, Max Theriot, Gil Bellows | Review

Make no mistake; you’ve been to this house before.  Countless times.

The house has a history of double murder – parents dead at the hand of their mentally unbalanced child. Four years later, a mom and daughter move in next door, all vulnerable and blonde, grateful for the cheap property values that have allowed them to rent the grand place for a reduced rate.  Sarah Cassidy (Elisabeth Shue) is going through a divorce.  17-year-old daughter Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) is going through a “mom can’t tell me anything” stage.

The two quickly find out about the house’s lone inhabitant, Ryan Jacobson (Max Theriot) a town pariah because of his history, even though it was his sister Carrie Anne (Eva Link) who murdered their parents.  He’s quiet and creepy and doesn’t do himself any favors in self-promotion.

Nevertheless, Elissa finds Ryan to be misunderstood.  Sarah has him checked out by police Chief Weaver (Gil Bellows) who just might turn out to be more than a public servant to the recent divorcee.  Weaver is sympathetic to the boy.  Sarah forbids them to be alone together; Elissa ignores her.

Ryan has got a secret living in a sub-basement of his house.  How long can he keep it with Elissa coming around?  Is she in danger?  Is he?  What about the town?

All this probably sounds more compelling than it actually is, and you’ll have to wade through a forest of clichés before any twists occur.  When they do, they are only mildly interesting and not enough to save the film from its paint by numbers mediocrity.

To her credit, Jennifer Lawrence generates all of the interest here, with Max Theriot alternately coming across as sad and weird.  Elisabeth Shue is another talented presence wasted by an unimaginative script.  Gil Bellows is inserted like a utensil into the mix.

There’s plenty I’m not telling you, but that won’t make the 101 minute running time any more compelling to sit through unless you’ve never seen this genre before.

Director Mark Tonderai (Hush), screenwriters David Loucka (Dream House) and Jonathan Mostow (Breakdown) have, and they try to outsmart the audience at every turn.  That should be a good thing, and it is when done well, which leaves The House at the End of the Street in danger of imminent foreclosure, even with two Oscar nominees living in the neighborhood.

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