House at the End of the Street
Time Out says
Dir: Mark Tonderai (2012, 101 min). Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue, Max Thieriot. Opens: Oct 12
This psychological thriller from ‘Hush’ director Mark Tonderai is the cinematic equivalent of chloroform: when it’s not clouding your mind with implausible scriptwriting trickery, it's numbing your senses with tedious expository dialogue and lifeless set-pieces. Shot before ‘The Hunger Games made’ Jennifer Lawrence a global star, it is a minor blip in her meteoric career trajectory, and one she will do best to forget.
When an embittered divorcee (Elisabeth Shue) and her 17-year-old daughter (Lawrence) move out of Chicago into a rented country home, and the mother says, ‘I think this place is going to be very good for us’, you know the writing is on the wall, in blood. And so it proves. Their neighbour is the Ryan (Max Thieriot), whose sister murdered their parents four years earlier. Elissa (Lawrence) thinks she can ‘save’ him; her mother is over-protective to the point of hostility. Also, there are rumours that Ryan’s murderous sister still prowls the woods around his family home.
Hobbled by the same kind of credibility-defying twists that afflicted writer David Loucka’s last film, ‘Dream House’, this manipulative nonsense ultimately resorts to the ‘dodgy, flickering torch’ device. For this and many other reasons, its prospects are very dim indeed. Nigel Floyd