‘House’ offers unoriginal plotline


Faith Schweikert, Managing Editor

How to make a horror movie: First, include a murder and a deranged witness. Second, select an attractive male and female lead. Third, have the girl walk into a scary basement alone as the audience screams at her not to. And lastly, kill everybody at nighttime. “House at the End of the Street” has succeeded in at least something.

When daughter and mother, Elissa and Sarah (Jennifer Lawrence and Elisabeth Shue, respectively), move to a new town they soon discover they neighbor a house in which a young girl killed both her parents. Against everyone’s urgings to stay away, Elissa soon befriends the surviving son, Ryan (Max Thieriot), learning more than the town could have ever even guessed.

It is nothing new; regulars to the horror genre have seen it all before. The relationship between the two main characters makes it more apt to attract girls to the film than the genre usually does.

It still includes enough violence, blood and jump-out-of-the-seat material, however, to satisfy those who are used to more intense action.

The trailer begins hopeful, depicting the relationship between Elissa and Ryan as playful and innocent. Light music and birds chirping soon turn darker as the truth comes out and the real climax of the story begins. The film mixes it up, adding a jump or a scream from the audience for every light hearted moment. In fact, most of the film is about a teenager in a new town, rather than the murder, as though the murder is simply a side note to Elissa’s life in high school.

Although Thieriot and Shue portray their respective characters perfectly, Lawrence’s falls flat. The general audience tends to root for Ryan, as the underdog of sorts in the beginning of the film. Elissa, however, who also comes from a difficult background, never appears more than just another attention seeking teen.

The lack of experience, director Mark Tonderai has may explain the poor quality of the film. It seems he tried to include a few too many horror genre clichés into one movie, hoping it would suffice for his relative newcomer status. He was wrong. Points, however, for Theo Green’s original music, which truly is the most gripping aspect of the film. Tonderai has potential for a solid thriller; he just didn’t quite reach it in “House at the End of the Street.”