Tag Archives: Horror

House at the End of the Street (2012) Review

With a movie that has such a generic title, you might expect that it would be a red herring. The Cabin in the Woods was a similar situation, and it ended up being one of my favorite horror satires of all-time. House at the End of the Street is not horror satire; in fact, it is the exact kind of movie that horror satires make fun of. However, even though the script is spotty, it still contains some characters I found to be very likeable, and a story that was interesting even if it wasn’t executed as well as it could have been.

The movie is a about a teenage girl named Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) that moves into a new neighborhood with her mom. They move right next to a house where a young girl murdered her parents four years ago. Her mother tells her that the drama surrounding that house allowed them to move in next door for a rather affordable price. They believe that this house at the end of the street is vacant; but the mother notices a light turn on in the house around 3 o’clock in the morning. It turns out the son of the murder victims, Ryan, still lives in the house.

Elissa is introduced to a boy that goes to her school, but quickly realizes that he is a jerk and does not want to be involved with his crowd. She is walking home from a party one night, and Ryan offers to give her a ride home. She accepts, eventually, and proceeds to ask him about the story of the murders. He tells her that his sister, Carrie-Anne, got brain damage from falling off a swing. This made her become very aggressive which led to her murdering their parents. He feels responsible because he was helping her go higher than she should have been going on the swing. She quickly learns that he is very troubled, but deep down she feels that he is a good person and she wants to help him.

If it wasn’t for Jennifer Lawrence I would not have gotten as much out of this movie as I did. She is extremely likeable and elevates the so-so dialogue so that you at least are interested in what is going on, even if you aren’t completely wowed by it. This won’t be a performance she’ll be remembered for, but it certainly is better than most horror films of this nature. I must also praise the performance of Max Thieriot, who played Ryan. He was very reserved and socially awkward, and was believable as a boy with a rough upbringing. Thieriot portrayed the emotional scars that Ryan had well, and even though he didn’t need much range, I still sympathized with his character.

This wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be. The plot isn’t anything revolutionary, but it offered enough interesting elements to keep me watching. It’s unfortunate that the movie squanders a lot of the potential the story did have, and relies on very cheap jump scares to try and rack the tension up. There was potential here for a very good horror movie, but some interesting plot points simply don’t get fleshed out enough. House at the End of the Street isn’t going to be on any year end lists, but as far as the horror genre goes, you can do a worse. Even though the execution is spotty and it isn’t very scary, I liked some of the pieces to this puzzle, even if they never fit together.

Release Date: September 25, 2012

Genres: Horror, Thriller, Mystery



The Cabin in the Woods (2012) Review

A horror film that is clever and original is something that you seldom see in this day and age. The genre is overflowing with films that have paper-thin plots that are buried with gore, nudity and cheap scares as a way to cover up the shortcomings. With the vast majority of these films being panned by critics and moviegoers alike, it is about time that a film came around that turns today’s horror formula on its head. Thankfully, along comes The Cabin in the Woods; a horror film that makes fun of many of the horror genre cliches and treats us with a story that is fun and engaging. Finally, a modern horror film with a freakin’ script!

The film takes place – you guessed it – in a cabin in the woods. 5 college students go there for a vacation, and bad things happen. While this appears to be the most standard and dumb horror plot in existence, that is exactly the point. The film starts off as just another horror film in order to make fun of all of the genres cliches; such as the isolated area, a creepy man warning them not to go there, and the 5 people themselves all fall into the most generic horror characterizations imaginable. As the film goes on, however, the nods to old horror films takes a back seat, and we are slowly sucked into a story that resembles no other.

This is a well executed film, and Drew Goddard (director, co-writer) is able to balance the comedy and horror aspects really well. Whether you are laughing at the absurdity of a situation or shaking because of what lies in the shadows, they both work and the tonal shifts never feel jarring. I must also give him credit for gathering a great cast of actors that actually make the film better rather than taking away from it. It is a given in horror films that you have absolutely horrible actors that are underdeveloped and you could not care any less about them. This is not the case here, as all of the actors give solid performances and are very likeable. Each character is here for a reason that drives the story forward, not just to drive up the death count.

I can’t delve any deeper into the plot because it’s nearly impossible to without spoiling something. This film is best viewed without knowing any of its tricks, so I recommend not reading any in-depth reviews before seeing it. It’s called The Cabin in the Woods for crying out loud; it wants you to think it is just another dumb horror film, and if you go in thinking that you will more than likely come out pleasantly surprised. Rarely does a film come along that is so predictable and at the same time so unpredictable, and the fact that it happens to be a horror film is more than enough reason why it should be checked out.

Release Date: April 13, 2012

Genres: Horror, Comedy, Thriller