2012 Running time: 101 Certificate: 15 Rating: 3

Synopsis

Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence has trouble with the neighbours in this nerve-jangler from British DJ-turned-director Mark Tonderai. She plays high schooler Elissa, who moves to a new town with her mother (Elisabeth Shue) in the knowledge that, years ago, a young girl murdered her parents in the house across the way. Then she vanished. But her reclusive older brother (Max Thieriot) still lives there. When Elissa gets to know him, he reveals the truth about the house's tragic past. But its darkest secret remains...

Director

  • Mark Tonderai

Cast

  • Jennifer Lawrence

  • Elisabeth Shue

  • Max Thierot

  • Gil Bellows

  • Nolan Gerard Funk

Review

Jennifer Lawrence plays Elissa, a laid-back teen musician who moves to the leafy outskirts of a new town with her doctor mum Sarah (Shue). Both know the history of the house opposite: some years ago, a little girl killed her parents and was never seen again.

What they didn't know was that the infamous poppet's brother Ryan (Thieriot) is now living there, having been elsewhere at the time of the murders - though that doesn't stop the rest of the town from making him a pariah.

Quickly learning that hardly anyone in the community is as clean-cut as they seem, Elissa decides to give Ryan a break.

Despite Sarah's misgivings, they become friends. But while Ryan unburdens himself of his terrible secrets, there's one he refuses to share.

What's infuriating about this psycho-chiller is that Tonderai and writer David Loucka (working from a short story by Terminator 3 director Jonathan Mostow) give themselves plenty of opportunities to do something different - especially with the characters - but refuse to follow them through.

For instance, the most unnerving silences don't come in the surrounding woods or down in the basement or in dark hallways, but when Elissa and Sarah aren't getting on. Canoodling couple about to get sliced among the trees? Yeah, whatever. Furious teenager giving mum the daggers? Brrr.

Then there's the twist. It's really smart. But instead of inspiring everyone to climactic heights, it's obliterated by a third-act barrage of killerindahouse conventions.

As with most potboilers, how much effort the makers put into it determines how much slack the audience is prepared to cut it.

On those grounds, House On The End Of The Street isn't the hottest property on the market, but the original features just about make it worth a viewing.

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