REVIEW: House at the End of the Street

Zed Filmworks is one of the largest movie production houses in Ottawa. Now in pre-production on their latest horror flick, CLOWN, Zed Filmworks has brought the likes of Dominic Monoghan, Shawn Ashmore, Cuba Gooding Jr, and Jennifer Lawrence to do work in our city. That last name, Jennifer Lawrence (of Hunger Games fame) is the star of House at the End of the Street - the Zed Filmworks produced flick that saw a wide theatrical release this weekend.

Should you see it?

House at the End of the Street ReviewHouse at the End of the Street stars Jennifer Lawrence as Elissa, a young teenager who moves across the country with her mother (Elisabeth Shue), presumably because her mother got a new job, although this is never officially mentioned once during the movie. Moving into a new house, the two find that the house next door is the site where four years earlier a married couple were brutally murdered by their daughter. The now deceased couple’s estranged son still lives in the house and creepy things are obviously supposed to happen… except they don’t.

That’s the easiest way to describe this nonsensical movie without giving away any spoilers, although, by the time you’re half way through you’ll know everything that’s going to happen in this movie from there on out. Shot in 2010, here in Ottawa, Ontario, I’m pretty sure that House at the End of the Street was destined to be a straight-to-DVD unforgettable release until the world got a huge load of Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games and they wanted more. Alliance Films snapped up distribution rights immediately and a theatrical release was to follow. The only problem? The Jennifer Lawrence from The Hunger Games is nothing like the Jennifer Lawrence from House at the End of the Street, or the aptly used hash tag, HATES.

Jennifer Lawrence and Elizabeth Shue star in House at the End of the StreetNow I know it seems that I’m “hate”ing pretty hard here! (Get it? It’s punny!) But there was some good in the film. Firstly I want to congratulate all the Ottawa cast and crew that took part in this film! It was great to be able to sit down and watch a movie on the big screen where I knew some of the actors, and I knew some of the locations. The acting was not the problem in this movie. The cinematography and production value were not the problem in this movie. In fact this movie had so much potential to be so great. And I truly hope that it does get recognized for the things it deserves to be recognized for, as it would be really nice to see some larger productions continue to come to Ottawa.

Jennifer Lawrence stars in House at the End of the StreetWhere this movie fails, and where it fails hard is in its script and story. The movie is supposed to be a horror/thriller; yet may just be the most boring horror movie in existence. Even the villain, if you want to call them that, is not a villain, but really an unfortunate victim of circumstance; which makes them a sympathetic character and one that you don’t necessarily want harm to fall upon. The script is just lazy. The exposition, the setups, the complete narration within the dialogue was just way too much. It really felt like the writer, David Loucka, who hasn’t written a decent movie to date, had writer’s diarrhea and wanted to include as much narration as possible to make the movie almost awkward for the audience to watch.

While my heart is begging to give this movie a Yay. I even spent a day working on the Production in background myself… I just can’t give into my biases.


This review was cross-posted from Production Ottawa’s Should You See site - where Matthew Champ regularly tells you what’s worth seeing in theatres. Matthew Champ also reports weekly on Dawg FM every Friday morning, dishing the dirt on all the latest movies. Check out the site and give Dawg FM a listen. 

Matthew Champ

About Matthew Champ

Matthew Champ is the lead movie reviewer for Production Ottawa's Should You See It team, making sure that you know whether or not these movies or plays are worth spending your time or money on. He is also on 101.9 Dawg FM every Friday morning at 7:10 AM chatting movies with Dylan Black. You can follow him on Twitter @matthewschamp.