A 2012 horror movie directed by Mark Tonderai and starring Jennifer Lawrence
(made between Winter's Bone
and The Hunger Games
but released after both of them) and Max Thieriot.
The film stars Lawrence as Elissa, a young woman from Chicago who, along with mother Sarah (Elisabeth Shue), move into a dirt-cheap fixer-upper in a quaint suburban neighborhood. However, not all things are what they seem in this neighborhood, especially when the two hear of the story behind a young daughter murdering her parents in a house close to where Elissa and Sarah now live. After murdering her parents, the daughter subsequently vanished, leaving behind her brother Ryan (Max Thieriot) as the only survivor. Much to Sarah's chagrin, Elissa starts falling for Ryan, and things begin to reach scary new heights when the two continue with their relationship.
The film contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Ryan's parents were drug-addled scumbags even before the swing accident. It only got worse from there.
- Actor Allusion: Jennifer Lawrence, after hearing that Carrie-Ann is rumoured to be living in the woods says "Do you really think someone could live out there?"
- Anti-Villain / Tragic Villain: Subverted, then double subverted. At first it looks like Ryan is keeping his brain damaged sister in his basement out a of misguided but sympathetic desire to protect her. Then it emerges the real Carrie Anne is long dead and Ryan has been kidnapping young women so he can pretend she is still alive - and that he was the one who murdered his parents. Finally it emerges that Ryan's parents were not simply neglectful but actively abusive and forced him to become Carrie Anne after her death, leading him eventually to snap.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Tyler Reynolds and his parents initially seem nice but quickly prove themselves Jerkasses (and in Mrs Reynolds's case stupid too.)
- Broken Bird: Elissa has a tendency to gravitate towards "troubled" boys, something which worries her mother deeply.
- Chekhov's Gun: The Penn. State sweater.
- Genre Blind: “The double murder was kind of a drag on the real estate market.” If no one else wants that bargain fixer-upper in the boonies, there’s a reason for it.
- Gory Discretion Shot: A few. Most notably the opening murder scene.
- Haunted House: The eponymous house appears to be this. it isn't
- Jump Scare: When Ryan goes into the basement and we get our first look at who's down there, it's from her jumping out and attacking him.
- After Ryan locks her in the trunk, Elissa's mother comes to the door. Then: BOO! The girl from Penn Sate is lying next to her, staring at our heroine.
- Madwoman in the Attic: Ryan keeps mentally-unstable Carrie Anne locked safely in the basement of his house. Except it's not really Carrie Anne, it's a random girl whose apparent intent to kill is really just attempts to escape.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Lots of gratuitous Jitter Cam.
- Once More with Clarity: At the beginning the movie, a husband and wife are brutally murdered by their brain-damaged/mentally ill child, perfect tragic victims for the opening of a horror movie. Even finding out half-way through the movie that they were neglectful junkies doesn't change much considering the horror-struck look on the dad's face after Carrie-Ann's accident. It's only after the end when you realize that they became full-on abusive parents for years making Ryan take on the persona of his dead sister to ease their grief, that the beginning isn't about too loving parents being randomly killed by the child they were protecting , but about the karmic death of abusive parents, with the mother sounding like a Smug Snake in the beginning, at the hands of the mentally ill child they created, not through neglect but on purpose through psychological damage. Watching the beginning again you can't help but cheer for their deaths.
- Properly Paranoid: Sarah's suspicions about Ryan turn out to be spot-on.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Ryan
- Sanity Slippage: Ryan, when he captured Elissa
- Scare Chord: Several, and very loud!
- Self-Made Orphan: What ended up happening with Ryan's sister, as she murdered both her parents. Although "she" was actually Ryan...
- Ungrateful Bastard: Ryan, to the cop who stood up for him