By: Mike Holtz, WeWatchedAMovie
Directed by:Mark Tonderai (Hush)
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games, Winters Bone), Max Thieriot (Jumper, My Soul to Take) and Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas, Hollow Man)
So here we are with The Last House on the Left. Sorry, I meant House at the End of the Street. Whatever. Can we start by having a serious talk with the guy picking movie names? He is really slacking off. We are here with Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) and her Mom (Elisabeth Shue) moving from the big city to a small town looking for a new start. Of-course, the house next door was apparently the location of a double murder where a little girl killed her parents and then disappeared herself. The little girl’s brother (Max Thieriot) still lives in the home despite the tragedy. The adults hate him because his presence keeps them from bulldozing the house and its drain on the local housing market and the teenagers hate him because his parents were murdered? There really is no explanation for this other than everyone in this town is apparently a jerk. (Just go with it. That’s the best were going to get.) Elissa starts to fall for Ryan and also has a hard time understanding the massive hate he gets when her mom and the neighborhood object to their relationship. But whether it for protecting the good or serving the forces of evil, Ryan has secrets of his own and as the two get close things begin to get creepy. (Allegedly)
Minus a few jump scares that I’m not afraid to admit made me drop my popcorn due to some sharp sound editing; this is no horror flick. HATES was advertised as scary business to get the target teenage audience’ butts in the seats but is merely a Suspense/Thriller with young leads. With the exception of a single twist that will shock some and slightly nudge others everything is played rather straight. There’s not much new to see here and there is certainly nothing to be scared of. Even after the true evil is finally revealed, there just doesn’t seem to be much of a threat at any point.
HATES is still indeed, watchable. That’s mostly due to Jennifer Lawrence who shines bright amidst all the average. It’s impressive how she takes something as boring as a high school girl falling for the “mysterious guy with a past”, adds heart and makes it more interesting than it was written. When in danger she’s believably strong willed and could be the perfect “Scream Queen” for a horror film deserving of it. Elisabeth Shue played the part of concerned mother well and Max Thieriot didn’t detract either. The problems with the film are rather in its constant plot holes and lack of anything interesting, original or more importantly scary for a film that calls itself Horror. 5.5/10