"House at the End of the Street" has been marketed as a thriller.

Yet, save for one extended sequence in the final act, there are very little thrills to be had.

This is essentially a Z-level slasher film that has been watered down to PG-13 level and classed up with the addition of rising star Jennifer Lawrence.

She plays Elissa, a teenage girl who moves from Chicago to a small town with her mother Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) looking to start fresh.

They move in next to a house where the 13-year-old daughter murdered her parents four years ago and disappeared. Sarah was led to believe the house was abandoned, but soon they realize one the son of the deceased Ryan (Max Theriot) has moved into the house. He wants to fix it up and sell it, determined to finish the job despite being shunned by the entire town.

Elissa and Ryan strike up a friendship, despite objections from Sarah. The budding relationship gets complicated however when secrets from Ryan's past are revealed - perhaps putting Elissa in danger.

The big problem with "House" is the predictable manner in which it unfolds. Even the twist proves to be a rather familiar plot turn, despite taking a more unconventional route to get there.

Director Max Tonderai tries to throw in all the gotcha tricks, but they all feel rather tepid and dull.

The cast does raise the script up slightly, but not enough to save the movie. Lawrence isn't very convincing, especially when she is asked to be the victim, but I think that's more fault of the script and not an indictment on her abilities. I think this is a role she doesn't need to do anymore and I hope she continues to find things that will challenge her as her career continues.

Shue is wasted as well, asked to be that over protective mom with parenting issues - resulting in a mother/daughter subplot that is all over the map.

It all adds up to a mess of a film that wants to have audiences on the edge of the seats. Instead it had me checking my watch and wanting to head for the exits.

Grade: D+

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