House at the End of the Street (2012)
Directed by Mark Tonderai
With a title about as bland as its premise, House at the End of the Street ends up being yet another ho-hum PG-13 "date night" flick that never delivers the goods despite a somewhat entertaining twist and a talented ensemble that are all far better than the material they've been given to work with in this tepid thriller.
Up-and-coming director Mark Tonderai certainly has a way with actors and the camera, but where he falls short on House at the End of the Street is his own reliance on about every horror cliché imaginable, making HATEOTS a rather formulaic and underwhelming affair.
At the start of HATEOTS, we're introduced to single mom Sarah (Shue) and her fiercely independent teenage daughter, Elissa (Lawrence), who make the mistake of moving in next door to the infamous murder house in the neighborhood, where just a few years earlier a young girl named Carrie Anne (Eva Link) viciously murdered her parents and fled, never to be seen again.
While Carrie Anne was hacking away on her parents, her older brother, Ryan (Thieriot), was away living with relatives; but he has since returned to his family estate in hopes of fixing the place up, selling it and putting his family's past behind him.
Sarah doesn't trust the mysterious loner, and as soon as Ryan begins to take an interest in Elissa, she reaches out to a kindly local cop, Officer Weaver (Bellows), for some advice and assistance in keeping an eye on her willful teenager, who likes to take on "damaged" guys as "emotional pet projects." Of course, Ryan does have a few secrets hiding inside his creepy old house, and soon Elissa realizes that sneaking out with the boy your mom always warned you about isn't worth it at all.
Tonderai also throws a curveball at audiences in there story-wise, but we wouldn't dream of ruining it for those of you out there who may actually go see this flick (not that we imagine that's a large number, but still) so all we'll say is that the filmmaker actually gives us a decent twist but does absolutely zilch with it during the film's climax.
And that's essentially what HATEOTS is as a whole: squandered potential even right down to the cast. While the movie itself is pretty run of the mill, cliché-riddled fodder, HATEOTS does feature several strong performances, particularly by Lawrence, Shue and Bellows. Thieriot is also decent in the movie, but he plays everything so one-note throughout that he ends up being outshone by his fellow performers.
Overall, though, HATEOTS is pretty much the movie you expect it to be if you've seen even one trailer- it's made strictly for the under 18 crowd with low expectations and a high enthusiasm for formulaic "horror" movies. If you're brave enough to visit the House at the End of the Street, do it when the flick gets its home release and save your cash.
2 out of 5