‘House at the End of the Street’ has thrills, but falls short in dialogue

Emily Price

House at the End of the Street stars Jennifer Lawrence as Elissa Cassidy, a teenager who gets more than she bargained for when she takes in the local outcast. Ryan Jacobson (Max Thieriot), the outcast, is a high-school graduate whose parents are murdered by his sister, Carrie Anne. Ryan becomes withdrawn, living alone in his parents’ run down house under the cover of fixing it up to sell. Carrie Anne, who disappears after the double murder, is supposedly brain damaged due to a childhood accident. Jennifer Lawrence proved her true skills for acting in Hunger Games , but does not live up to the standards she set with her previous performance. This is due in part to the awkwardly-written dialogue, but also due to her awkward delivery of the dialogue. Although House at the End of the Street (released Sept. 21) has an interesting concept, its execution comes off as almost careless. It is, however, riddled with tension and cheap scares. Another downside is the twists sporadically littered throughout the plot. As a thriller, House at the End of the Street does not particularly stand out. The acting is average at best. Some characters seem to be exact repeats of characters in most movies made for thrills: the teenager with musical talent and a big heart, the troubled outcast with a secret, and the parent desperately trying to connect to her distant child. Despite its overall poor acting and disappointing execution, House at the End of the Street is thoroughly entertaining while also managing to follow precisely along with the plotline of a stereotypical thriller. The adrenaline-inducing moments are relatively predictable and suiting of the film’s PG-13 rating, yet still manage to cause a few jumps throughout the audience. Although the film, produced by FilmNation Entertainment, received poor reception by critics, it is not totally deserving of this. There are tense moments that genuinely invoke a worry about what happens next, even scares that are almost unpredictable. Sadly, none of these high points are due to the dialogue, which can only be called awkwardly unrealistic. Not even Lawrence can make “yada yada yada” sound like something a teenage girl would typically say. The dialogue is at times painfully reminiscent of shows from the late 90s. The technology, however, was strangely updated. Lawrence’s character frequently whips out her iPad to inform her Seattle friends of how she is adjusting to her new small-town home, despite her mother’s previous hinting at money problems. Although the dialogue is generally awkward and the plot somewhat predictable and some minor inconsistencies occur throughout, House at the End of the Street is still a decent thrill ride with some fascinating twists. Overall rating: 5.5/10 Emily Price is a staff writer for The Bark . Follow The Bark on Twitter @BeardenBARK, and like The Bark (Bearden High School) on Facebook.