House at the End of the Street
Whatever happened to Carrie Anne (Eva Link), a girl in a billowy nightgown who slashed her parents to death? Everyone thinks she’s dead, but House at the End of the Street lets us know that she’s living, bound and drugged, in a secret basement compartment of that same house. There, she’s looked after by her nervous, edgy brother, Ryan (Max Thieriot), a community college student who prowls the streets as a barely tolerated outcast. (The characterization boils down to this: He has a deeply moody and sensitive beard.) Enter Jennifer Lawrence, all fleshy smiles and blank stares, as the new girl in town who’s drawn to Ryan because he seems damaged and dangerous.
With its ingenue-meets-freak romance in a suburban woodland setting, combined with that whole killer-in-the basement setup, House at the End of the Street is going for a Twilight-meets-Psycho vibe, except that almost nothing happens. The whole thing is slackly staged, flatly acted, zero-suspense exposition. Then Lawrence discovers the brother’s secret, at which point stuff really stops happening. This is the rare horror film so bad you almost wish it had turned into a good old connect-the-gory-dots slasher movie. The only mystery at work is how Lawrence’s agent ever let her sign on. D-