Sometimes (quite often, actually), horror movies come along that I have little to no interest in seeing, movies that I only find myself in the theater watching for the purpose of being able to come on here and tell you folks what I thought about them. I'm about 99.9% sure I'm not going to like the movies that I'm referring to, even in the slightest bit, but I've always felt it's kinda my duty as a horror blogger to get out there and see all the new stuff, at least when it comes to big releases.
House At The End Of The Street is one of those movies.
(But hey, I had a free ticket to see it tonight, so at least this review didn't cost me, like they usually do!)
If you're thinking that House At The End Of The Street is one of those movies that was made a couple years back, and is only now seeing distribution because its star recently hit it big in Hollywood, then you'd be absolutely 100% correct. The movie was filmed back in 2010, before Jennifer Lawrence was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Winter's Bone, and of course before she became a household name in The Hunger Games, and I would imagine that the only reason it's even seeing release now is because the studio knew it could make a few bucks off of her poor early career decision to be in it. It happens all the time in Hollywood. And they were totally right, as evidenced by the fact that Katniss helped elevate this hunk of junk to the top of the box office over the weekend.
As I was fully aware going in, House At The End Of The Street is just another cookie cutter, safe and totally generic PG-13 affair, the kind of movie that makes jumpy teenage girls scared, while grizzled horror veterans like ourselves sit back and wonder if it's even worth going out to see horror movies anymore. Establishing opening scene of a prior evil, cut to a few years later, mom and daughter move into a new house that's connected to the horrific event seen in the opening ... yadda, yadda, yadda. Ohh, and there's a cute mysterious guy ... I wonder if he'll turn out to be the killer!
The me of a couple years ago would've probably gone on and on about how crappy this movie is, but the me of today realizes there's no point in wasting my time, or yours. House At The End Of The Street blows. But of course it does, at least for people like us. Ya see, a movie like this isn't for fans like us, it's for those jumpy teenage girls who want to go out to the movies, without parental supervision, and experience some chills and thrills in the safest way possible, with totally predictable outcomes and cheap jump scares aplenty. And that's totally fine. Wide release theatrical horror movies are, for the most part, about making money by catering to the masses. These kinds of horror movies aren't made for horror fans, they're made for young kids on dates who want to make annoying noises and hide in the comfort of their boyfriend's shoulder when the cat springs out of the closet door. And then text the other guy they're interested in. Little sluts, the whole lot of 'em.
So, my fellow horror fans, I urge you to not get bummed out by movies like this, or by the fact that movies like this continue to do well at the box office, and continue to get made, while the kinds of movies we love either can't get made, or can't get released. And don't even bother ranting about how shitty they are, and how much they're ruining the genre. Hell, don't even bother seeing them. Use that time and energy to instead seek out something good, and spread the good word on those films that you do love. Horror's not dead just because films like this, Silent House and The Possession are populating the big screens. Those types of films are merely a profitable and tiny sub-section of the genre, that people like us need not spend so much time focusing on. We're the ones who are supposed to be hunting down the foreign and indie gems that aren't so easy to locate, not paying 11 bucks to see the same movies over and over again, getting more and more pissed off each time. We as horror fans have a tendency to keep watching and bitching about shit we don't like, which is totally unnecessary. It's like saying, "I hate hot dogs with mustard on them", and then continually eating hot dogs with mustard on them. Just stop watching the kinds of horror films that represent everything you dislike about the genre. Simple as that. Tweens aren't watching the horror movies we like, so why are we watching the ones they like, and then getting mad when we don't like them? Silly, if ya think about it.
Now if I can say one positive thing about this movie, it's that there are two big twists towards the end of it that I actually did not see coming (gasp!). Well, the last one I sort of did see coming earlier in the film, but had written it off when it seemed like things weren't going to turn out that way. So yea, there's that. But still, a twist ending tacked on to a shitty movie is more or less a crutch to distract the audience from poor writing for the other 95% of the film, so it really doesn't mean much at the end of the day. If worked into a more all around well written movie, those twists could've made for an interesting film, but the writing as a whole was way too poor for anything to help make it any more watchable. For the most part, I spent the nearly 2 hour run time hoping David Hess would spring up and slaughter the entire cast. Hey, can ya blame me, with a title like that?!
Speaking of slaughtering. My god. I think I have to stop going to see PG-13 horror films in the theater, altogether. It's not that I have anything against PG-13 horror, but I don't think I can stand to watch one more movie while annoying disrespectful asshole teenagers yap on their cell phones and scream out stupid jokes. After the third "That's what she said!" from the fat young kid sitting in front of me tonight, I was about ready to turn that theater into an NC-17 horror flick. Now that, would've been worth watching!