Monday, 24 September 2012

House at the End of the Street - The scoop and digest

Since beginning with The Bourne Legacy, I've had the pleasure of watching various cinematic treats that have been worthy of my own review and/or opinion.

With this one, I wished I'd stayed at home.

It has some mildly interesting plot twists and boasts some decent acting, but is only worthy to be viewed via a DVD rental.

Trust me, that's been fairly generous

That is my humble opinion of course but others that have also seen it may agree.

Still, it's one of those where I'd probably regret not going to see.

I may spoil, reveal bits and bobs and generally ruin the film so please heed that warning.

It's not torture porn and has very little blood splatter so gorehounds should avoid it like the proverbial plague.

A good film doesn't need to have gore, frequent foul language and expansive explosions.

However, what a good film requires (especially a thriller) is a dose of intelligence, intrigue and chars you care about.

This struggles in most departments.

The opening scene is what we discover shortly after to be flashback.

A young girl (looking like something out of The Ring) disturbs her parent's sleep and the mother goes to confront her.

Her loving daughter batters her to death.

Father dear goes to investigate and before he can get out of his bedroom, the daughter attacks him on their bed and unseen, stabs, stabs and stabs some more.

She flees the scene....

Four years later and we're introduced to bitchy Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) and her mother Sarah (Elisabeth Shue).

Recently divorced mummy and daughter have found the pad of their dreams but there's one snag, it's opposite where those murders took place.

The rent is only affordable thanks to that house of horrors.

Oh dear - that's highly original.

We learn that the only person who survived the massacre was the girl's brother, Ryan (Max Thieriot).

His sister is called Carrie Anne (important).

The neighbours believe that Carrie Anne may still be large and live in the woods but most believe she drowned.

Ryan is naturally a broken individual, considered a weird freak and hated my most as what normal teen would want to stay in the house where your ma and pa were murdered?

The house of horrors and Ryan hide a secret in the basement.

He opens the door with a key which he keeps on top of its frame...

Beyond a locked room is a girl who goes a bit mental and attacks him.

What an ungrateful cow!  He was only bringing  you some fodder love.

Somehow expecting a bit of a confrontation, he drugs her and sends her to dozy land.

Upon doing so, he warns her to leave the family across the way alone.

So this is Carrie Anne?

After attending a party that turned into a non-event because some wasted asshole wanted to get a bit ooh la la with Elissa, she walks home.

A car coasts by and stops.  It reverses and the driver is none other than reclusive nut-job Ryan.  After failing to persuade her to grab a lift, he drives off (despite the imminent weather warning)...

Oops, what a surprise - Michael Fish has predicted the convenient future and it promptly chucks down.

Why didn't he just say "Get in the car with me as it's going to rain so I can get asked the inevitable questions about the murders and why I choose to go back there."

Yeah, the sudden change in weather is enough to persuade her to get in and she questions him...


He tells her that sis suffered brain damage after an accident on a swing.

Elissa arrives home safely and guess what, that's enough to intrigue her and eventually, he becomes a bit of a dish.

It's necessary to the point of the film but give me strength.

The imperfect mother befriends a police officer and asks about Ryan.

The law protects Ryan as he's sick of the bitching because he wouldn't harm a wounded fly.

As he and Elissa get friendlier, she sees Ryan as a challenge and according to her mother, she sees him as the perfect project and attempts to get inside his fragile mind.

Their lips and tongues can resist no longer after he reveals a face in a tree.

After a huge tongue wrestle at his gaf, the 'girl' works out how to escape as she places a piece of cardboard under her prison door and thuds several times.

Breaking the door down is not her aim as instead, she's after that key...

Clever girl.

So she's free and coincidentally, Elissa needs a break.

Whoah, sis is on the loose and who knows what she'll do.  Maybe prevent this film from deteriorating into cliched chaos?

Unlike the film, he sees the danger and panicking, throws Elissa out.

After another escape attempt, bro goes a little too far in sedating her and only succeeds in accidentally breaking her Gregory Peck.

Well, these things happen.

I forgot to mention that Elissa is a gifted musician and is set to perform in the Battle of the Bands at the local school.

She's interrupted by a knock on the door as unstable Ryan wants a chinwag.

Before they get stuck in, they are warned that hoods are wrecking his car.  They beat him up but when breaks the leader's ankle, this pisses his mates off and they proceed to gain revenge.

They visit Ryan's house and give him a late house-warming present in the form of a lit object.

Elissa uses Ryan's still functional car and drives to his home.

She foils the gang's arson plan as it only affected his curtains but while inside, she hears a thudding noise from below.  The noise is just a tumble drier but she also notices a closed door that she finds impossible to resist investigating...

Teenagers and their curiosity eh?

Carrie Anne attacks her but good old Ryan just happens to 'turn up' and prevent Elissa from receiving harm.

The camera shot reveals that this is a 'different' Carrie Anne as Ryan visited a diner shortly after killing 'Carrie Anne'.

I think you know where this shit pile is heading and cue the film's climax.

Ryan begs her not to spill his little secret but doubting her sincerity, knocks her out cold.

He needs Carrie Anne in his 'life' and yup, sis was actually killed in that swing 'accident' and every time you've seen Carrie Anne, it's one of his victims trying to escape from Ryan the loon.

So after some events involving chloroform and stereotypical scuffles, Ryan is stopped but not killed.

In the final scene, Ryan ends up spending the rest of his days in a mental institution.  His mind reveals memories and how his crack smoking parents covered up their daughter's death by literally dressing up Ryan as Carrie Anne and was subsequently abused, hence what led him to killing them.

The negatives greatly outweigh the positives but there are some positives.

Thieriot and Lawrence gave it their best shot to try and make this generic mess at least watchable.

Its first half was pretty decent as it kept you guessing and there are even some potential moments that could make you jump.

Unfortunately, the wall that is cemented together swiftly collapses and becomes limper than a Viagra shy pensioner.

Apart from Elissa and Ryan, the chars are appallingly one dimensional and lack less personality than a traffic warden.

You really couldn't give a monkey's toss what happened to them.

All in all, it's littered with too many cliches and eventually becoming more predictable than the outcome of the England national team contesting a major football tournament.

This is definitely a case of two halves as the first half is worth watching but the second half is when it should be shown a red card.

Mark Tonderai serves up one of those expensive meals that you force yourself to finish because you've paid whatever for it and feel left grossly underwhelmed soon after.

It's not the worst piece of celluloid I've ever seen but it's up there with The Pact.

I'd say this was only marginally better than that steaming mountain of horse manure.

Finally, the name Carrie Anne frequently reminded me of Poltergeist.

I wonder why?

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