Despite cast’s potential thriller fails to scare, entertain

Originally set for release in April 2012, House at the End of the Street has been held until now, perhaps to cash in on star Jennifer Lawrence’s Hunger Games fame or maybe just because it’s now that time of year for scary movies. Whatever the reason, it wasn’t long enough. House at the End of the Streetis a boring thriller masquerading as fresh horror. But really the only problem is the concept and the script; a well-written movie with these actors and production team would have been a screeching good time.

[media-credit name=”Relativity Media” align=”aligncenter” width=”960″][/media-credit]House at the End of the Street focuses on a mother and daughter who move to a new town and who are able to afford an otherwise expensive house because there was a double murder in the adjacent house, driving down the value of the surrounding properties. According to town legend, and a brief flashback, Carrie Ann killed her parents while her brother was away. Ten or fifteen years later, the brother still lives in the house, claiming to be fixing it up and trying to sell it as he goes to college part-time.

Of course our heroine doesn’t fit in with the popular kids at her new high school. And of course the brother is better-than-average-looking, reclusive and pensive, in a ridiculous kind of way. And of course they meet and like each other, which the audience will never have seen coming (said no one, ever). The first thirty minutes are very boring and some of the most uninteresting cinema since Battleship.

And this is where it starts to become obvious that this film won’t rise up and use this non-traditional, romantic beginning to its advantage. It’s never less than crystal clear throughout this whole “character building” that this movie is about something else because the writing is so thin, the character motivations so unclear and not a single character will let you forget about the murders and how the brother (whose sister murdered their parents) is kind, but lonely and misunderstood.

The entire movie so far is about the New Girl in Town and the Misunderstood Loner. It’s pretty boring (the production team casting an iPod touch as an iPhone was the best part thus far). And then of course there’s the plot twist, which brings on the thrills, chills and horror. Except it doesn’t. The plot twist shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone paying any amount of attention. This may be a typical thing for someone to say to make themselves sound literate and worldly, but it’s really true. The plot twist is lame and shocks no one. The only good about this twist is it propels this plodding movie into the final act.

The finale is dull and provides only scares from things jumping out. House at the End of the Street as a whole does not set up and then pay off promises of thrills. Stuff pops out from behind doors. Perhaps it was the crowded, urban theater (it was definitely the crowded urban theater), but the onslaught of chiché after chiché became comical. Our seemingly intelligent heroine makes decisions a Cro Magnon would scoff at, much to the delight of the bored audience (for the wrong reasons).

House at the End of the Street is exactly what it seems: a low-budget, poorly conceived and written, half-brained, non-thriller. Even though the camera is shaky, the depth of field shallow and the shots a little too close, these ingredients by themselves can’t make an audience squeal with delight (in the intended manner). There’s a whole bag of crazy with the murdered parents and their children, but that’s hardly explored. Instead, House at the End of the Street becomes a well-shot non-romance, which turns into a non-thriller. What’s worse, the message at the end of the movie is “Actively hate those who are different. They’re probably serial killers and will stab your mom with an ice pick. Also, people still have ice picks.” If you pay money to see this movie, you have bigger problems in your life (like how to tie your shoes and which is “left” and which is “right”) to worry about than trying to figure out this boring thriller.