House at the End of the Street is a psychological thriller based on a story by Jonathan Mostow and screenplay by David Loucka. The plot follows Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) and her recently divorced mother Sarah (Elizabeth Shue) as they move to a house in rural Pennsylvania. Mother and daughter find themselves living across a house where a double homicide took place four years before their arrival. The young daughter of the family residing in the house, Carrie Ann Jacobson (Eva Link), disappeared and her parents were killed. When Ryan Jacobson (Max Thieriot), the victims’ son and sole survivor of that tragic event develops a close relationship with Elissa, dangerous secrets begin to surface.
In this film the director Mark Tonderai makes a point to build a character driven story. He uses the classic resources of the genre and rearranges them to mislead the audience’s expectations. “We wanted to elevate the genre and we worked really hard to do it.” says Tonderai. He also emphasizes his desire to create a movie based on what lies beneath the obvious, the character dualities and the complexities they carry within.
As the title suggests one of the most important aspects of the movie is the location. Deep forest, isolated neighborhood, creepy house. The production team found the perfect “House at the End of the Street” in Ottawa, Canada. Where they created a set that even scared the cast and crew. “I couldn’t believe they found a house that creepy.” says Elizabeth Shue. “Everyone was scared to be in it. We were always imagining all the scary things that that must have gone down in that house for real.”
The cast and the relationships between the characters are crucial to push this story forward. As Sarah, Elizabeth Shue brings another face to motherhood and certain sophistication to a character that is desperately seeking for redemption. Max Thieriot gives to the emotionally troubled Ryan charm and depth. Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as Elissa is definitely the highlight of this film. The young actress carries this movie with her powerful screen presence and her remarkable acting skills. Lawrence creates a multi dimensional character that is easy to follow around through the intricate plot and a house full of secrets.