Allow me a hipster moment, if you will:
I liked her first.
Yes, I'm referring to Academy Award winner/box office champ/soundbite extraordinaire Jennifer Lawrence, whose talents I've been praising since a little indie called Winter's Bone got thrown into the discussion of films that should be, but never would be, nominated for an Oscar. Now everyone and their grandmother has something positive to say about the girl who would be Katniss Everdeen, allowing me a certain warranted measure of I Told You So henceforth.
Anyhoo, House At the End of the Street:
|That's its roof. At the end of the street.|
Quick Plot: After about 10 minutes of animated logos from different studios, we're introduced to a prologue wherein a young girl named Carrie-Anne slaughters her parents. Four years later, a very blond mother/daughter pair move in to a house at the other end of the street on which said murder took place, forever driving the property value down and making a lot of white suburbanites angry.
Elyssa (Lawrence) is a rocker teen with an attraction to project boys. With her long necklaces and raccoon eye shadow, Lawrence is like the strangely displaced niece of her 2012 best actress competition Jessica Chastain in Mama. Where the latter had to deal with two flaxen-haired feral children with an unhealthy attachment to a mysterious mother figure, Lawrence's Elyssa gets saddled with a single dreamy flaxen-haired loner harboring an unhealthy attachment to a mysterious sister figure.
Coincidence, or SOMETHING MORE?
Eh, probably the first one, especially since House At the End of the Street is way more fun to pair up with Sleepaway Camp than Mama. I'm not quite spoiling anything here, but trust me: director Mark Tonderai might have spent a few summers at Camp Arawak before finishing his film.
House At the End of the Street was ravaged by critics and horror fans when it debuted in the dreaded wasteland of January releases. Look, I'm not saying it's good--because seriously, it's not--but for whatever reason, I ended up having way more fun than I expected with it. Maybe it was the way Oscar winner Lawrence coyly delivered the line "I'll be right back" (yup, that happens) or how Elisabeth Shue rotates between cool mom, overprotective mom, and hot mess wino mom all within one awkward dinner party scene. By the time Gil Bellows sauntered into a dangerous situation with a foreshadowingly damaged flashlight, I simply couldn't be angry.
Theatrical horror is a constant source of controversy among the dedicated fanbase. Passionate moviegoers like to hurl guilt-loaded insults at people who pay money for dreck and bypass what they perceive to be quality. In theory, I understand this, but when this situation usually turns into "People paid to see Paranormal Activity 3 but didn't support Hatchet II. THEY'RE NOT REAL FANS!", I take offense.
Personally, I kind of hated Hatchet II, and definitely hated being told that I wasn't a true horror fan for not heading down to my AMC theater to show that I wanted more Unrated horror in the world. As I've said before, (in audio form even!), the horror genre will always exist in its true glory in the realm of home media. From the VHS days of the '80s to VOD of today, the modern cinematic audience does not need bucket seats stained with popcorn oil to appreciate or support a film. Let the teenagers spend their allowance on House At the End of the Street. Their decision does not mean I won't get the pleasure of cozying up with my cats to watch The House Of the Devil from the comfort of my own couch.
That was a minor tangent, but probably more thought-out than the plot of House At the End of the Street.
I think the oddly timed reveal of the film's first big 'twist' was part of the attacks lodged at this movie, but I kind of liked how House At the End of the Street showed its hand earlier than expected. It threw me off, whether intended or unintended, and in the world of lazy theatrical PG-13 horror, any surprise is a good one
During the big finale, there's a genuine shock in terms of a lead character being fatally injured. Then the movie remembers it's aimed at a mass market and 'fatally injured' turns into 'mild flesh wound'
Just cause someone's a wasted slut in high school doesn't mean her daughter will be too
Double murders are somewhat of a drag on the real estate market
There are probably easier ways to keep an older boy from dating your daughter than to invite said older boy over for what's supposed to be a pleasant dinner party then suck down an entire bottle of red wine and slobber into an awkward fight with your teen. Easier, but none as entertaining...
Ally MacBeal's lost love/Goblin's earnest dad Gil Bellows in the role of the Dumbest Policeman Since Those Germans In The Human Centipede
Pet Peeve of the Week
As a test, I spent about 5 minutes this morning removing a knife from its holder to see if it was humanly (or Emily) possible to achieve that oh-so-iconic "SLICE!" sound. Guess what? KNIVES DON'T MAKE NOISE WHEN REMOVED FROM HOLDERS. If you could tell that to EVERY FILMMAKER EVER, I'd be very grateful
Well, I streamed House At the End of the Street on my way to and from work one day, and dangit, I couldn't help but be amused. This is NOT good. Really. It's PG-13 horror with a few sprinkles of 'What the F-Word Used Non-Sexually Since We're PG-13?" It reveals its twist before it even built doubt as to where it was going. And yet, I found myself far less angry than I was watching the more ambitious (in theory) Silent House and to an extent, the constantly shooting-itself-in-its-CGI-
foot Mama. Don't watch it expecting anything of quality. But for a mindless 'really?' kind of viewing, one could do worse.