House at the End of the Street (Blu-ray)

January 7, 2013 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

With every “it” actor or actress, there seems to be a trend that they follow.  I was watching a movie a few days ago (just for fun, actually and not for review purposes – very liberating) with Heather Graham.  I can’t even remember the name of it, but looking at it now – many actresses could have played that part. And so it goes with Jennifer Lawrence, who made a name for herself with Winter’s Bone which garnered her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress (she lost to Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady). It began.  Lawrence was then seen in X-Men: First Class and then came her big breakthrough with The Hunger Games.  As Katniss Everdeen the first installment of Suzanne Collins’ post-apocalyptic trilogy was both critically and commercially successful.  If there was any doubt that Lawrence was a star, there wasn’t any longer.  Now we’ve got House at the End of the Street.  It stars Jennifer Lawrence and Elisabeth Shue, a previous “it” girl in her own right.  What, pray tell, are we in for?

Lawrence plays Elissa, an angsty teen that’s relocated from Chicago with her mother (Elisabeth Shue) a doctor or nurse (the movie never really clarifies and it’s relatively insignificant, anyway).  They’re renting a huge house at, you guessed it, the end of the street.  However they’re able to afford it because of the double homicide that happened next door a few years back.  It would seem that the daughter took a hammer to her mother and father’s skulls and, well, the rest is history.  Four years have passed, the property values have declined and here they are.  Elissa has a liking for the literal boy next door, Ryan (Max Thieriot) the only surviving member of the massacre and who is somewhat preserving anything and everything from his childhood.  He’s ostracized by the town and has hopes of being a psychiatrist.  He also may or may not have a teenage girl chained up in the basement.  We also have to go through the relatively predictable plot of the mother doubting her teenage daughter and trying to “fix” the disturbed boy.  Will it work?

I’ve read some reviews of this movie and some have even called it “Hitchcockian.” I had to laugh.  No, I don’t think Alfred Hitchcock would have anything to do with a movie like this.  It’s not a bad movie and I’ll be the first to admit that it does offer some genuine twists that I didn’t see coming.  I also have to comment that it was very odd for me to see Elisabeth Shue in the role of a mother of a late teenager.  Looking at IMDB, however, it appears that she’s 49 years old, so she’s certainly of age.  I guess I always tend to think of her in her younger days when she was just Marty McFly’s girlfriend.  Time flies.  Truthfully this isn’t a bad movie, it’s not really a “horror” movie as it seems to be advertised.  Jennifer Lawrence does a good job in her role, though I can see pretty much any actress of her age doing the same job.  For what it’s worth, she does run around in a white tank top for a majority of the movie, so there’s that.  If you’re looking for a movie that’s similar and much better (and actually is what I’d call “Hitchcockian” check out Silence of the Lambs instead).

Video: How does it look?

The movie comes to Blu-ray in a 2.40:1 AVC HD encode looking very good.  We can see the beads of sweat on Lawrence’s chest and forehead, the depth in the forest and the scruff of facial fuzz on Max Thieriot’s face.  Detail, as they say, is top notch.  Colors are a bit on the vivid side during some scenes, but by and large seem to have a very bland look about them.  About half the movie takes place at night or indoors, so we don’t get a whole lot of range here.  Contrast is solid, with no blocking or errors to be seen.  It’s on par with what we’d expect from a new to Blu-ray film.

Audio: How does it sound?

The DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack isn’t really one I’d call “dynamic” or “robust”, rather it does have a few moments that are worth note (the typical horror film predictable moments when the actor turns around only to be greeted by something or someone with a loud sound to make you jump).  The majority of the film is dialogue driven and the front channels handle the burden of the sound with no problem.  Surrounds are present, but not really “accounted for” if that makes sense.  It doesn’t?  Ok. It’s a good effort, but not great.

Supplements: What are the extras?

In addition to dual cuts of the movie, the theatrical 101 minute version is included as is the 109 minute unrated version, we get a few featurettes along with a DVD of the film.  Fox is one of the studios that’s yet to embrace UltraViolet, so when or if they do, we’ll continue to get multiple disc sets.  There is a digital copy included as well.  Back to the featurettes, we get “Journey into Terror: Inside House at the End of the Street” with features some behind the scenes footage as well as some interviews with the main cast members.  The theatrical trailer is also included.  And of note, there are no less than four, yes four, production company logos that start this movie off.  That was annoying to me, though I can’t really explain why.

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