After the success of ‘The Hunger Games’ it is no surprise to see Jennifer Lawrence expanding her filmography. Her latest project: ‘House At The End Of The Street’ – a horror film co-starring Max Thieriot and Elisabeth Shue.
The film follows Jennifer Lawrence playing Elisa, a head strong teenager who moves into a new house with her mother (Elisabeth Shue). They soon learn that the neighbouring house has a dark past; the scene of a murder where a young girl killed her parents. Elisa befriends their surviving son (Max Thieriot), and begins to learn that the story is far from over.
One of the most important criteria that a horror film has to meet if it is to be successful is a unique and unpredictable narrative. If the audience can guess the ending then the enjoyment is removed – with ‘House At The End Of The Street’, this was addressed effectively. The narrative is well written and keeps the viewer guessing, while it is not particularly unique in storyline, the manner in which the film was written provides a refreshing change from the ‘standard’ horror structure we have come to expect from modern cinema. Without wishing to spoil the film, it also contains a clever twist at the end.
In terms of performances, the leading actors deliver. While there is nothing particularly demanding of each role, the actors never the less produce believable and realistic performances. The screen chemistry between Lawrence & Thieriot is particularly effective, which aids the narrative in its unpredictability.
Having said this, ‘House At The End Of The Street’ does have a significant downfall. As previously mentioned, the narrative of the film is good. However, as the most important objective for any horror film is to do the obvious; scare the audience, unfortunately, in this aspect ‘House At The End Of The Street’ disappoints. The film simply does not contain enough suspense, and where it does exist the focus is more on the generation of tension than scaring its viewers. Its narrative is driven by the main character, Elisa, and the success of the film partly depends on the audience having more knowledge of events than this character. Due to this, the film does develop tension, as the audience knows what Elisa does not, but if a horror film uses this trait effectively it must build upon this tension effectively to create fear in order to scare – sadly this is where ‘House At The End Of The Street’ fails; it simply isn’t frightening enough.
Furthermore, while technical features of lighting and camera work are acceptable, the film has an issue with sound and music. As it is vital to get this right, particularly in a film of this genre, here the sound used seems almost rushed and constructed in a lacklustre manner thus failing to generate the appropriate atmosphere.
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