Proof that you shouldn’t judge a film by its title
An influx of unimaginative titles have plagued modern cinema and the resulting releases carry a sense of negativity long before the house lights are even dimmed. These marketing misconceptions are frequently present within mainstream horror and unfortunately House at the End of the Street falls under this same shadow of audience’s preconceived aversion. However, much like The Cabin in the Woods, there’s a lot more to this film than the title suggests.
On the surface the narrative is built on genre conventions, such as one-dimensional characters and a typical suburban setting, but this film is in fact much more intelligent. In a similar way to Drew Goddard for his sensationally overt condemning of contemporary horror, director Mark Tonderai applies genre clichés as a tool to establish audience preconceptions before subverting them and dramatically pulling the rug from beneath them.
From the moment it begins it feels like another straightforward psychological horror, but the plethora of dramatic narrative twists transform it from an atypical, paint-by-numbers disappointment in to an exceptionally unpredictable experience. Armed with a smart, twisting narrative, Tonderai develops a Hitchcockian approach and this unison will leave even the most observant viewers struggling to predict the outcome of this taut, suspense-filled horror-cum-thriller.
Unfortunately, Tonderai’s subtle focus on genre clichés, as opposed to clear attack present within The Cabin in the Woods, has resulted in the majority of audiences and critics missing this approach or not recognising it as intention. House at the End of the Street is by no means perfect, but those willing who embrace the director’s style will have a thoroughly enjoyable experience with one of the standout horrors from 2012.