The Movie: 6/10
I like to be scared. It doesn’t happen very often, and this movie doesn’t do it, just to get that out of the way right up front. I wasn’t afraid for the characters very much. Hmm that’s not strictly true. I did end up caring about the mother and daughter, so I did invest some quick breaths in and gasps now and then when they were threatened or having a particularly uncomfortable conversation. That added the value to this movie watching experience. I do think that our leading ladies won me over and from there I forgave a lot. It’s a well made movie, truth. It’s got a good vibe, atmosphere, clearly established to be a place deep in the woods, isolated and scary. By the way, why the hell would anyone live in a place where you are basically stranded in the woods, surrounded by creepy sounds and miles of mystery? It’s nuts.
I grew up in rural America. I’m not really afraid of being in the woods necessarily. The thing is, at night, as in the movie, the sounds and the darkness and the thing about being surrounded by nearly nothingness, does bring up some primal fears. Some people will be like …”bah, the woods are scary at all, what a load of crap.” Fair enough. I think that was the most intimidating part of the movie for me, the isolation feeding the story.
We meet a mother and daughter who have a troubled past, of course. Next door, in the woods, is a house where a girl murdered her parents years before, of course. Added to that the son of the family has lived there for a while and the community think he’s a freak, reject him, treat him like a jerk, of course.
Our teenage young lady is compassionate and a little bit rebellious We understand right away that she’s independent and pretty darn self sufficient. That’s good to know later in the story, trust me. The mother, played by Elizabeth Shue (an 80’s 90’s favorite of mine) hasn’t been a great mom, she’s a doctor, but with a shady past that has left her daughter feeling abandoned, not unusual for a teenager in a movie about a scary place and a threat that might just force mom to snap into action…just sayin’.
The neighbor boy is grown up, fixing the failing house, hurt and broken by the sad violent past of his family and their home. Teenage girls who ‘hate’ their mothers like to do things that drive those mothers crazy. For example, hang out with a troubled son of a murdered family who the town hates. Do you get the feeling I’m mocking a little bit here? I’m not trying to be snotty, but most of this story isn’t new. It’s that formula we are all familiar with. Then again, even I was surprised a couple of times, just the right times to wake my coasting movie watching brain.
Those surprises, not SCARES, but just bumps in the straight line of the plot made me go “ahhh” and earned my renewed interest just when I was comfortable with what I was seeing and confident it was going this way, then it tilted slight that way and I was pleased.
The classic horror tricks are here, she falls while running, she struggles with keys, someone trapped in a basement, someone in a trunk, someone who isn’t who they appear to be (a few of those actually), jerk jocks picking on the outsider, false scares, creepy family history of violence and secrets…etc. They are overused boxes to tick for a movie like this, but because I was into the movie at about a 42% invested brain level, I could get along with it as a whole and not knit pick it to death.
Overall I did have a pretty good time with this movie, on a certain level. I wasn’t amazed at the story, but pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t grossed out by any of the squeamish stuff, but did grimace a couple of times. I did truly enjoy the leading ladies and that’s enough for me to recommend this movie for a night of somewhat bland ‘horror’. It is made to be less dark and gruesome, since it’s PG-13, so keep that in mind.
- Unrated & Theatrical Versions – A minute of footage separates the two different versions, both are very tame though.
- Journey Into Terror: Inside House At The End Of The Street – Not really much of a special feature, but you do get to see the actors kiss the arse of the director over and over again.
- DVD & Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
The cover art is pretty interesting to me. It’s simple but gets my mind wandering down that street to find that face and learn about the trauma she’s clearly going through. Success. I might have it as a poster without the text, so then it’s just Jennifer’s face..haha The menu is what it is, navigation.
Audio & Video: 7/10
House at the end of the street is a very grainy movie, shot on 35mm to emulate horror films of the 70’s the grimy look cuts the sharpness and clarity quite a bit. Fine detail is also affected by this design choice but as far as preserving the directors vision this AVC 1080P encode does the job.
The movie favors jump scares in favor of actual real horror and the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track will make you jump (Cidtalk jumped a few times). Check out the scene at the end of the movie where Jennifer Lawrence is trapped in a cellar and the lights go out. All of a sudden the sound starts to pan around the surround speakers giving you a feeling of being lost in the dark it’s very impressive. This is not the best movie in the world but the encode on this Blu-Ray disc makes up for it with great audio and video.
House at the End of the Street can fill a certain little crack of semi-dark entertainment craving. It’s not worth the purchase price to me, so renting it online is the way to go. If you have 20 bucks to blow on a movie I would not watch more than once, go for it. If you actually use ME as a way to decide how you spend your money…well…..good luck with that:)
Overall Score 6/10