“The House at the End of the Street,” which hit theaters on Friday, is being torn apart by critics. The teen horror film is fast becoming the worst reviewed movie of the year and has been branded rotten by Rotten Tomatoes.
The film tells the story of Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence), a teenage girl who moves into a new home with her mother (Elizabeth Shue). Unfortunately for them, they now live across the street from a house which was the site of a gruesome double murder. As several critics have pointed out -- the house is not located at the end of the street but in the woods.
Elissa soon befriends Ryan (Max Thieriot), the sole occupant of the eerie dwelling, after learning that he is the son of the murder victims. He’s antisocial and strange -- the embodiment of teen angst -- and Elissa is determined to “fix” him. But, alas, as a romance blossoms between the two, it becomes clear that someone is lurking in the basement of the Ryan’s house.
The film’s dreadful dialogue, unoriginal concept and poorly executed plot twists have given critics plenty of ammo to write scathing reviews across the board.
Here are a few highlights.
In a review subtly titled “'House At The End Of The Street' Is Like 'Twilight' Meets 'The Devil's Rejects' (And Totally Awful),” Indie Wire’s Drew Taylor says that the film is “full of half-baked psychology, borderline inept filmmaking and an undercurrent of deeply ugly misogyny that is scary but not in the way the creative team intended. Forget about what happens in the movie -- the mere act of watching 'House at the End of the Street' is an act of torture.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney calls out the film’s screenwriter, Jim Sheirdan, for penning two dismal films this year.
“Following the Jim Sheridan dud ‘Dream House,’ it marks the second botched attempt by screenwriter David Loucka to juice up tired horror conventions in less than a year,” says Rooney, who sites Lawrence’s performance as the film’s only highlight.
“The principal saving grace is Lawrence as Elissa,” he says. “The classic modern horror heroine, she’s an independent-minded, fearless, whip-smart high-schooler who looks sizzling in a tank top.”
Brad Miska of Bloody Disgusting says, “While it’s not bad-bad, it's just so poorly conceived that it should have premiered on Lifetime. ... It very well may be the most generic horror film ever made.”
The film was shot prior to the release “The Hunger Games,” which catapulted Lawrence to It girl status. The actress, who was paid $500,000 for first “Hunger Games” film, will earn a reported $10 million for the film’s sequel, “Catching Fire.” This means that trite B movies are now beneath her.
Jim Tudor of Twitch notes the disparity between when the film was completed and its release date.
“At first glance, ‘The House at the End of the Street’ appears to be one of two things: either the latest high-profile Hollywood horror film or an older effort that's been withering on a shelf somewhere and was deemed releasable only now that its star has since become a celebrity,” says Tudor. “The answer becomes glaringly obvious within the first 30 seconds of the movie. But for definitive proof, one must hang around until the last 30 seconds, when the final credits read ‘Copyright 2011.’ This sort of thing is, of course, never a good sign.”
Hollywood Chicago’s Brian Tellerico calls the film “the kind of bland, mediocre thriller that's tough to review in the sense that it's difficult to put a shoulder shrug into words. How can I turn 'meh' into a full review?”
“There are probably worse films than ‘House at the End of the Street,’ but there are really none more awful,” says Todd Gilchrist of Celebuzz. “A soulless, uncreative, cliché-laden anger generator disguised as a horror thriller, Mark Tonderai’s film undermines itself at every turn and infuriates its audience.”
Eric Walkuski of ScreenCrush says that the film “shamefully wastes the obvious talents of its young actors with material so paltry that you feel bad for everyone involved -- except for the filmmakers who are trying to put one over on the audience, of course.”