In the interest of saving readers 100 thrill-free minutes, we’re here to break down the litany of hoary reveals in House at the End of the Street. Presumably released to capitalize on the rising stardom of Jennifer Lawrence—noticeably younger here—this long-shelved potboiler begins like a teen Psycho gloss, with Max Thieriot as the sensitive, Norman Bates–y heartthrob romancing our new-girl-in-town heroine. Thieriot’s Ryan harbors a troubled past: When he was a boy, his little sister, Carrie Anne, butchered both his parents, Michael Myers–style, and then retreated into the surrounding woods. Or did she? As we quickly learn, Ryan has a feral female houseguest locked in his basement—one we’re meant to assume is the slash-happy sibling who “disappeared” years earlier.
Savvy genre fans will start asking the right questions, such as “Why do we rarely see this bogeywoman in close-up?” After what feels like an eternity of wheel spinning, House reveals the mystery lady is neither Carrie Anne nor her brother in drag, but…the latest young coed Ryan has held captive as a surrogate for his missing sis. (You’d think a small-town kidnapping ring would be more difficult to maintain, especially for the town pariah living alone in the house where his folks were brutally murdered.) But wait, there’s more! It was actually Ryan who killed his parents, after Carrie Anne died in an earlier swing-set accident and they started raising their little boy as a little girl. So convoluted it has to cram its final twists into a mental-institution epilogue, House at the End of the Street is worse than a bad Psycho knockoff. It’s a bad Sleepaway Camp knockoff. (Available on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray Tue 8.)