The House at the End of the Street: resting on a tired plot

A Movie Review

*** Major Spoiler Alert!***

House I doubt it will be long before this movie sinks into the depths of Netflix one point five stardom.

Directed by Mark Tonderal (Hush) with story by Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3 and U-571) and screenplay by David Loucka (Dream House) “House” offers a worthy cast headed by Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Shue and Gil Bellows.

The House at the End of the Street shows its cards in the first scene where it’s night and a woman hears a bump.

She rises from her bed and we see a figure and a mop of blond hair covering the face of whoever made the bump. One determined blue eye peers out from the mop as a hand takes a long sharp knife from the kitchen. Right before the woman encounters the business end of the knife, we see the mad determined gleam in the blue eye. Despite the efforts of all involved, we also see part of a face that could use just a smidge more estrogen. The woman says, “Carrie Anne? What are you . . .” We assume Carrie Anne, from her toned bicep, must be working out. Then it’s shower curtains as Carrie Anne’s knife meets the woman’s kidney.

Soon, the woman’s waiting-in-bed husband becomes victim number two. Okay let’s jump ahead.

A woman (Elizabeth Shue) and her daughter (Jennifer Lawrence) move into a big house.

Sitting in a rustic area with trees and a hint of wilderness, this prime real estate is a steal because of property values dropping in the neighborhood.

The crime of the notorious Carrie Ann refuses to be forgotten. They never found her, you see.

Now her brother (Max Theriot) lives there alone. The woman and her daughter are at odds. There’s been a divorce and rather than the absent rock musician father, the woman, a doctor, has custody of the daughter. Of course there’s lots of fighting and predictably, the misunderstood neighborhood boy living alone becomes the center of it all. The girl can’t resist the tortured blue eyes of her studly handsome neighbor, who wasn’t around when the murders happened. He went to live with an aunt when he was seven, you see. Now, all he wants to do is fix the place up and sell it, he tells her.

He doesn’t tell her about his sister, Carrie Anne, tied up in the cellar.

They were twins, and he feels responsible for her. Unfortunately, crazy Carrie Anne manages to get away and he ends up chasing her down and killing her. In the meantime, the neighbor girl decides to seduce the tortured but cute neighbor, much to the distress of her mother and annoyance of various high school bullies, who make it their business to drive him out by harassing him. Poor soul, he’s all alone now that Carrie Anne’s gone. Or is she?

***Read no more if  you plan to see the movie and don’t like spoilers.***

I kept waiting for something to surprise me in this pre-fab project.

The lack of originality had me shaking my head as we discover that those neighborhood punks had the right idea. Lonely boy finds another girl to be his crazy sister and it’s official, he was Carrie Anne when the murders occurred. It turns out that his mom and dad were so angry when the real Carrie Anne fell off her swing and died, that they forced him to take her place. Fed up, dealing with puberty as a girl, he killed them. Understandable. Predictably, neighbor girl figures his secret out and she and mom have to fight him off. The movie ends with him on Thorazine as he stares glassy-blue-eyed at a jigsaw puzzle.

Young Mr. Theriot is playing Norman Bates in a TV production, Bates Hotel. Ah good plan.

For the life of me, I’ll never understand how projects like this are made and released while more worthy scripts are met with indifference. The plot and characters were indifferently written and trite. The actors, including Mr. Theriot will appear in more worthy projects. And if the writers and director do another one of these clunkers, I hope the ghost of Alfred Hitchcock haunts them, hopefully inspiring more original fare.

 

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