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Film / House at the End of the Street

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House at the End of the Street is a 2010 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, in 2012).

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.
  • Asshole Victim: Ryan's parents. Tyler too, who gets his leg broken by Ryan and is left crippled after leading a beating of him.
  • 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.
  • Broken Bird: Elissa has a tendency to gravitate towards "troubled" boys, something that 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.
  • Jitter Cam: Lots of gratuitous shaky cam.
  • 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 State 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.
  • Once More, with Clarity: At the beginning of 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, and that the beginning isn't about two 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 through psychological damage. You can't help but cheer for their deaths when watching the beginning again.
  • 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...
  • 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 turns out that the real Carrie Anne is long dead and Ryan has been kidnapping young women so he can pretend she's still alive — and that he was the one who murdered their parents. Finally, it's revealed that Ryan's parents were not simply neglectful, but actively abusive, and forced him to become Carrie Anne after her death, leading him to eventually snap.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Ryan, to the cop that stood up for him.