Tag Archives: Elisabeth Shue

‘House at the End of the Street’ Interview: Mark Tonderai on Defying Genre Expectations

Jennifer-Lawrence-Max-Theriot-House-at-the-End-of-the-StreetMaking a horror movie is a double-edged sword. The most hardcore fans of the genre will see anything and everything, so you’re guaranteed to make a buck – but at the same time, many moviegoers have seen just about everything and anything, so it takes quite a bit of ingenuity, creativity and thoughtfulness to wow, let alone scare us, and that’s the challenge director Mark Tonderai strove to tackle with House at the End of the Street. 

Jennifer Lawrence leads as Elissa, a girl who moves into a new house with her mother, Sarah (Elisabeth Shue). Unfortunately, it turns out their dream house has a rather dark past. Just down the street, a young girl viciously murdered her parents and disappeared making her brother, Ryan (Max Thieriot), the only surviving family member. Then again, this isn’t such an unfortunate thing for Elissa because Ryan still calls the former crime scene home and he’s pretty cute, too.

Sounds like your typical innocent-girl-gets-too-close-to-the-creepy-boy movie, right? That’s actually the point. In fact, that’s part of the reason Tonderai was attracted to the project. In honor of House at the End of the Street’s recent DVD and Blu-ray release, Tonderai took the time to explain the meticulous process of turning the expected into the unexpected, delivering a horror thriller with a significant amount of subtext, his experience working with Lawrence, Thieriot and Shue, his reaction to the film’s critical reception and more.

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Review: House at the End of the Street

“Look at that tree. Do you see the face?” “No.” “Look for another three minutes of screen time. Now can you see the face?” “Yes! I see the face.” Two scenes about the face later and I still didn’t see the thing. Thanks “House at the End of the Street” for making me stare at a tree for five minutes for no reason.

One night, young Carrie Ann (Eva Link) brutally murders her parents making her brother, Ryan (Max Thieriot), the sole surviving family member. Four years later, the town still feels the effects of the vicious crime, including the fact that a local murder house drives down property values. Homeowners in the area aren’t happy, but that turns out to be a plus for Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) and her daughter Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) because they get a gorgeous house on a budget. Sarah’s got no problem living next door to the location of a double homicide until Elissa befriends Ryan. Forever shunned by everyone in town, Elissa feels sorry for Ryan who, to her, seems as though he’s just sad and misunderstood.

Oh, please. The kid’s sister butchers his parents and Ryan’s just sad and misunderstood? Thieriot actually sells it pretty well, but thanks to writer David Loucka’s incessant foreshadowing, you see every twist and turn coming minutes away.

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Tribeca Review: Janie Jones

World, watch out for Abigail Breslin. Thanks to nine years of work, we know she’s a talented actress, but Janie Jones really proves she’s on another level. The film not only reveals her as an incredibly talented singer, but as an actress who can take a subpar script, breathe life into it and make it somewhat enjoyable.

Breslin is Janie Jones, a 13-year-old with an addict for a mother (Elisabeth Shue). When mom decides to get clean, she opts to leave Janie with her father, semi-rock star Ethan Brand (Alessandro Nivola). Too bad Ethan doesn’t even know he has a kid. Despite being unconvinced he’s really the father, when Janie’s mother bails, Ethan is left with no choice but to bring Janie aboard his tour bus.

Janie isn’t troublesome in the least; it’s her father that causes all the problems. Not only does he stomp around unwilling to accept the fact that he has a child, but his drinking gets out of control as does his attitude. When his escapades become too much to handle, Ethan’s band and manager decide it’s time to part ways leaving Ethan and Janie alone.

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Review: Piranha 3D

I like campy horror flicks – a lot, probably too much. Piranha 3D looked to be everything I’d fall for; I’m a huge fan of director Alexandre Aja’s The Hills Have Eyes, thought writers Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg’s last film, Sorority Row, was a ton of fun and am always eager to check out new and more grotesque ways of killing off characters. The problem is, Piranha lacks the fear and emotion of The Hills Have Eyes, isn’t half as witty as Sorority Row and almost entirely consists of the same kill over and over. It’s a good thingPiranha only clocks in at 89 minutes because that’s all it’s worth.

It’s spring break and the small town of Lake Victoria is a prime spot for those looking for a party. When the hordes of big-boobed, booze-guzzling students arrive, so does the entertainment like the wet t-shirt contest MC played by Eli Roth and pornographic moviemaker Derrick Jones (Jerry O’Connell) and his Wild Wild Girls, Danni and Crystal (Kelly Brook and Riley Stelle). Meanwhile, Sheriff Julie Forester (Elisabeth Shue) is just trying to keep the peace while her oldest son, Jake (Steven R. McQueen), keeps an eye on her little ones, Laura and Zane (Brooklynn Proulx and Sage Ryan).

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