A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that House at the End of the Street is a thriller that many teens will want to see based on the fact that its star, Jennifer Lawrence, was in The Hunger Games. There's fighting, kidnapping, and killing, and dead bodies are shown, but very little blood and gore are on display. Language includes a few uses of words like "a--hole" and "bitch." Teen characters kiss and are clearly thinking about sex but are interrupted. Some characters drink too much, and "crack" (i.e. a lighter and some tin foil) is briefly shown in a flashback.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Teen Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) and her single mom (Elisabeth Shue) move from busy Chicago into a giant home in a small town; they got it cheap because it's next door to a creepy house where a small girl apparently killed her parents. Having trouble fitting in, Elissa is drawn to the college-age Ryan (Max Thieriot), who lives in the murder house, even though nobody in town likes or trusts him. Unfortunately, Ryan appears to be hiding something, but can Elissa find out what it is before it's too late?
Is it any good?
This is one of those movies in which the nonsensical plot disintegrates the moment anyone starts asking questions. In 2011, another David Loucka screenplay, Dream House, attracted a top-notch cast and was turned into a terrible thriller. Amazingly, the exact same thing has now happened with another Loucka project, also with "House" in the title. The movie requires the characters to act stupidly to help move things forward, and if they had seen any other movies, they would know not to do these things.
Worse, the antagonist seems to have supernatural powers at various points -- able to sneak up on people or dispatch well-trained opponents -- but at other times is unable to hear characters creaking up the stairs. Oddly, the two Oscar-nominated leads, Shue and Lawrence, are quite affecting in the movie's straightforward scenes of character development. If HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET had only left all the dumb thriller stuff behind and concentrated on a mother-daughter drama, it might have gone somewhere.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the romantic relationship between the teen characters. Does it seem realistic? How is sex a factor?
House at the End of the Street includes several murders without very much violence and gore. Does it still make its point? How does it compare to other thrillers and horror movies you've seen?
Is the movie scary? Why or why not?
- In theaters: September 21, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: January 8, 2013
- Cast: Elisabeth Shue, Jennifer Lawrence, Max Thieriot
- Director: Mark Tonderai
- Studio: Relativity Media
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 101 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of violence and terror, thematic elements, language, some teen partying and brief drug material
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.