Wednesday, February 13, 2013

House at the End of the Street (2012)

I was fully prepared for this to be tripe.  With its marketing and boasting of J Law, I was pretty sure this would fall in there with movies like The Possession: polished, safely PG-13, overproduced monotony.  But, lo, I found enough to like here to say that I quite enjoyed watching it.  No, I wouldn't watch it again by choice, but for the one shot that I did take with it, I have no regrets.

The plot is a bit unoriginal, despite what other reviewers are claiming (I've seen more than a few talk about throwing away what could have been an original idea).  One day we'll finally all agree that there are no original ideas; one can only hope for original depictions of known ideas.  But anyway, the last thing I should do is wax philosophical when I'm trying to quickly write up a below-average review of an average movie.  J Law and her mother move into a new house in a new town as a way to make a fresh start.  We begin to get the typical backstory and stressors as the plot unfolds: there were tensions between the mother and father; J Law is from the big city and misses her friends; the neighbors are weird; and, oh yeah, you guys live within sight of a house where a gruesome double-murder took place.  From there, we get some psychological twists that, on paper, would have worn out their welcome, but in execution I enjoyed.

Nothing worth reporting as far as cinematics or setting.  Pretty generic.

This is the first time I've ever experienced J Law.  I have not seen Hunger Games or that movie with Bradley Cooper.  My first impression was that she is very comfortable, casual, and she seemingly effortlessly succeeded at portraying her character without coming off as whiny and annoying.  This is the danger with the character setup we have in this movie.  The daughter character could easily be unlikable if she were to overplay the I'm-going-through-a-hard-time angle.  I realize this makes me sound insensitive, but this is a movie, after all, and it's how I feel.  I hardly ever empathize with characters on-screen; yet I empathize with characters all the time while reading.  In any case, there is great chemistry between J Law and Max Thieriot.  The mother, Elisabeth Shue, I did not care for, though I did enjoy her character in Piranha.

I seriously doubt this will end up on anyone's Best... list, unless it's some ironic list like Best Average Movies or Best Attempts at a Shock Ending, but it's still worth a watch all the same.  The ending doesn't obstreperously grope for a twist/shock/epiphany as desperately as Silent House, but it isn't just a dud either.  This is simply a movie that's worth a watch if you want to burn some time on a decent thriller.

Rating: 3/5

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