House at the End of the Street (Blu-ray Review)

Academy Award Nominees Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games) and Elisabeth Shue star in this edge-of-your-seat horror hit packed with heart-pounding thrills and gripping suspense.  Newly divorced Sarah (Shue) and her teenage daughter Elissa (Lawrence) have just moved to the suburbs for a fresh start.  But their hopes quickly shatter as they learn that, years earlier, a grisly murder took place next door when a deranged girl killed her parents and disappeared.  The girl’s older brother Ryan (Max Thieriot) still occupies the house, and when he befriends Elissa, his secretive past could become her worst nightmare!  



Jennifer Lawrence plays Elissa, a teenage girl moving into a new house and neighborhood with her mom Sarah (Elisabeth Shue).  As they meet the neighbors they learn about the local horror story.  A young girl killed her parents, and although her body was never found, is presumed dead.  Elissa and Sarah assumed the creepy house was empty but learn that the girl’s brother lives there.  Although it was Ryan’s (Max Theriot) sister that committed the horrendous crime, he has been shunned by his neighbors and lives an isolated life.

Elissa starts to bond with some of her neighbors but finds out that they aren’t the good guys she thought.  Walking home in the rain, Ryan gives her a ride and a friendship begins to blossom.  Sarah makes an effort to have Ryan over for dinner but that turns out to be a bad idea as she explains to him her reservations about a college boy who lives alone hanging out with her teenage daughter.

As Ryan comes out of hiding to see Elissa and her support her and her interests, the townspeople get angry and even violent. It appears as though Ryan is just an innocent young man who was dealt a bad hand in life. Then it starts to look like maybe Ryan is hiding secrets and could be everything his neighbors fear.

Plenty of people will probably watch the House at the End of the Street because Jennifer Lawrence just won an award. There is nothing wrong with her performance in this movie.  In fact, all of the actors played their parts well.  I expected it to be more of a creepy ghost story.  For an unrated release, it is also extremely tame.  It’s not a bad movie, but it’s not a particularly good movie either.  House at the End of the Street just failed to reach the right level of creepy I was looking for.  The twists and turns are fairly predictable and it’s more thriller than horror and that’s not what I expected.


House at the End of the Street has an intentionally grainy, muted look which adds to the believability of the film as a whole.  It is presented on Blu- ray with a 1080p AVC encoded transfer with a widescreen 2.35:1 ratio.  Black levels are consistent and stable and it’s not a sharp picture, and I have to assume that was the intent of the original release. Clothing details and texture are easily visible in daylight and darkness and the video quality is superior to the content of the film.


Part of why this film missed the mark when attempting to instill terror in it’s audience is that the filmmakers chose jolting sounds in the place of genuine, story driven suspense.  What this DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix does do well is bring through all the environmental sounds of the forest that the main homes are located in.  The best use of sound came at the end when Elissa finds herself in a dark basement.  The breathing and shuffling feet make that scene work.


There aren’t many extras included and the ones that have been added are pretty generic.

  • Journey Into Terror: Inside House at the End of the Street – This is fairly generic making of featurette.  The director discusses why Jennifer Lawrence was chosen and Lawrence praises the rest of the cast.  The movie was dull and the featurette is pretty dull as well.
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Sneak Peak – for the upcoming Coppola film Twixt.


When the opening scene with the murders fails to terrify, you can bet the rest of the movie is likely to be rather dull. Although well cast, and well acted, House at the End of the Street just misses the mark.  Clearly low budget, the suspense just isn’t there.  For an unrated version it’s very tame.  If you’re a fan of Jennifer Lawrence and/or Elisabeth Shue it’s worth watching, just don’t expect a whole lot in the terror department.  The audio and video quality are significantly better than the storytelling.

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