House at the End of the Street movie review: Listen to mom!

Sep 21, 2012 at 2:18 p.m. ET

This moody, creepy teen flick will keep you guessing until the dark and bitter end. Jennifer Lawrence proves once again why she’s the hottest young actress in town.

House at the End of the Street

2.5 of 5 Stars: Perfect for those who love stories about messed-up families

17-year-old Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) and her single mother Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) move to a new town where the rent is surprisingly affordable due to a double murder at the end of the block.

The people murdered were the mom and dad of the Reynolds family and the culprit was their brain-damaged daughter who may or may not still be alive. Sure, the Reynolds had a son Ryan     (Max Thieriot), but he was living with an aunt when the horrible event took place. Now, college-aged Ryan lives in the home alone. So we think.

House at the End of the Street

No family is perfect, including Elissa and Sarah, who are living together for the first time. Elissa no longer lives with her rock-star dad and Sarah is trying to find her groove as mom, so it’s no wonder she comes off a bit over-protective -- something teenagers hate.

It’s so refreshing to see Jennifer Lawrence as a typical, smart-mouthed, eye-rolling teen. You can practically smell her raging hormones as she acts. Elisabeth Shue gives a wonderful, vulnerable performance, really embracing the love and fear all moms of teens have. It is the distance between mother and daughter that provides the real tension in the movie. If only Elissa had listened to her mother as she cautioned her not to spend time alone with the dreary boy in that dreadful house.

House at the End of the Street

If teenagers are anything, they're rebellious, and Elissa becomes drawn to Ryan and visits him in secret. It’s only when she discovers a young woman tied to the bed in the basement does she begin to realize that just maybe, her mother was right. But of course it’s too late, and the true horror begins.

Bottom line: While nowhere near The Exorcist in terms of frightening, House at the End of the Streetis well-acted, creepy and entertaining.

Photo credit: Relativity Media