Um, me and mom (Back To The Future II‘s Elisabeth Shue) have totally moved to this massive – yet suspiciously cheap – house in a small town, after our dad left – which was a total bummer. The snobby local parents are all like “Urgh, some family were killed next door.” Whatevz. I meet this douchebag (Glee‘s Nolan Gerard Funk) at school, and he like tries to feel me up, and I’m like “Um, no, A-hole.” But then I meet the boy (My Soul To Take‘s Max Thieriot) next door from the murder house, he’s super-cute and intense and all deep and stuff. But then mom’s like “You are NOT going to be alone with him and blah blah blah.” What a bitch, and she’s like a totally hypocrite because she’s all like “OMIGOD, call me” with the Sheriff (Ally McBeal dad-candy Gil Bellows).
If the name alone made you think you’d seen it all before – The Last House At The End Of The Haunted Hill By The Cemetery – the set-up will do sweet FA to disavow you of that. House At The End Of The Street is such a astonishingly contrived distillation of tame teen slasher movie tropes that it feels more like a Point Horror adaptation than anything else – Jennifer Lawrence’s vanilla everygirl Elissa gelling almost perfectly with whatever self-image the target audience of hormonal Hunger Games fans wish to project onto her, there’s the new friends who turn out to be cocks, the real friends that are slower to reveal themselves, the mysterious bad boy who writes poetry (probably), the leafy small town frustration, and the parent/child conflict.
The increasingly convoluted Baked Alaska of a twist is easily predictable (sarcastic spoiler alert) for anyone who has seen Sleepaway Camp, or even Psycho, and while Katnissa is the sort of pragmatic, assertive horror movie heroine that her fanbase deserve, it’s a relatively minor affirmation in the type of film that Scream should have made redundant nearly 20 years ago.
2012 may have been the year she conquered the world, but here Jennifer Lawrence is reduced to the role of cardboard cut-out, being dragged numbly from plot point to plot point on a piece of brown string, while the competent Thieriot makes a reasonable fist of channelling all the floor-gazing, obsessive awkwardness of Anthony Perkins’ Norman Bates. Meanwhile, the over-enthusiastic film school cinematography whirls around them or steadicams up stairs like a golden retriever.
Coupled with a soundtrack comprised of artists nobody over the age of 24 can pronounce from genres nobody over the age of 34 has heard of, it’s clear throughout that the only people like to get anything from this are gaggles of shrieking 13-year-olds at slumber parties, and they more than most might take issue with the anachronistic use of MySpace or an iPod the size of an Etch A Sketch.