LESS THAN ZERO
House At The End Of The Street (2012) US/Canada
Here's something to try. Take a brightly colored, tasty candy and put it in your mouth. Now take it out and let it sit or dry it off on a towel. Put it back in your mouth. Still good? Okay, take it out and rub a little spot of dirt on it and put it back in your mouth. Nummy? Okay, this time pour some sour milk on it...
I think you get my point. When it comes to movies, the first is best - whenever a formula is taken and messed with, the result is not going to be near as good as the previous and the more you regurgitate the same type of formulas, the worse it's gonna taste. Like this movie. Making it sound a lot like The Last House On The Left (in title at least) is not gonna help the taste of the oft-used and tiresome tale of women living on their own only to be terrorized by a psycho 'cause they dared to take care of themselves.
We get that glimpse of psycho slasher history as we watch a girl slaughter her parents one dark and stormy night. Then we skip ahead to a woman and her daughter (mother played by Elisabeth Shue - geez that made me feel old) finding a nice big house out in the boonies. They can afford it 'cause they're next door to the infamous massacred family's house. Yippee. The killer, named Carrie-Ann is supposed to have drowned but they never found the body. In movie speak that means she's still living next door and is just greasing the trap for her next kill. Duh.
But wait there's more - a boy survived the massacre and lives next door. His name is Ryan and he fancies the new girl Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence). She becomes his friend despite the sideways glances of the whole town except for a police officer who feels sorry for him. You know a girl can't like a guy in the movies unless he's shunned by the entire community (and gorgeous - don't forget gorgeous). Uh, wait - I don't personally think Ryan (Max Thieriot) was all that good looking, I was just being facetious.
Anyway, it goes that way as they get closer - of course Ryan has a secret. Well not to those of us who've seen this story play out tons of times before. Ryan keeps, locked up in a dungeon type room below the house his sister Carrie-Ann who appears dangerously insane. And yes dear readers my movie review worksheet (patent pending) was completely filled out by this time.
I had guessed pretty close with only a few missing details. When the two siblings were young, Ryan was pushing Carrie-Ann on the swing. With neglectful parents totally ignoring them, Carrie-Ann was injured and became violent - kept out of sight below. Ryan has to care for her now that she killed her parents. That would be the story if this were NOT a horror movie. Since it is, the true story is that Carrie-Ann died and Ryan, 'needing' to have his sister, has been abducting and keeping different girls below. Of course something happens and they get 'accidentally' killed - and he just replaces them with a different girl. Why?
Back to the neglectful parents - after they discovered their daughter dead they did what every horror movie parents do - they buried her and forced Ryan to become Carrie-Ann, abusing him if he refused. He actually butchered his parents - the stay at an aunt's house was the parent's cover story and so when he killed them and took off well - I didn't feel sorry for them. But Ryan is nastily insane, willing to kill to keep 'Carrie-Ann' with him. Geez for a stupid regurgitated horror film this gets complicated.
But long story short, he's found out by the daughter next door, there are chases, fights, murders, blah blah blah and you know the mom and daughter triumph because, well, women usually survive these horror movies. Usually. So they move off to find a house that is NOT in a psycho's neighborhood and Ryan goes to a mental hospital. And I just saved you 101 minutes.
Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.