Jennifer Lawrence as Elissa

Max Thieriot as Ryan

Elisabeth Shue as Sarah

Directed by Mark Tonderai


Synopsis:  Elissa and her mom, Sarah, move to a beautiful suburban neighborhood from Chicago, into a house next door to the one in which the daughter murdered her parents and disappeared, making it a much more affordable place to rent.  Elissa befriends the surviving brother and begins to learn more about him and his past, but not before some crazy things start happening, making everyone unsure of what they believe to be true about their neighbors.

Not the best of the pre-Halloween movies I’ve seen, but it was definitely suspenseful, with some fun twists to make the dramatic irony more apparent for viewers.  I’m a huge fan of scary movies, and while I prefer the sci-fi genre to horror for presenting truly scary storylines and images, I still like to see the more traditional scary movies as well.  This was fun; my theater was filled with people hiding behind their hands and pointing at the screen, telling the main characters what not to do (which is HILARIOUS, by the way!), and I giggled a lot, since my main reaction to fear is laughter, so it worked.

However: the plot was standard.  There was a significant amount of pandering (because, honestly, how many times can a gravely injured person summon the strength to do something super-vigorous?  Adrenaline rushes don’t repeat that quickly).  The supporting cast was basically unnecessary after the first 10 minutes of meeting them; they established the mood of the town and then they became extras.

What I DID like:

  • Jennifer Lawrence.  She’s such a good actress, especially in physical roles!  She channeled Katniss Everdeen a couple of times, and made me realize that if I’m ever in danger and she’s with me, I’m set.  Max Thieriot was good too, very conflicted.  Slightly reminiscent of his role in The Pacifier, with the hidden side that only comes out at the very end.
  • The back story on the Jacobsen family, presented visually.  There’s a bit of verbal explanation, but what we get to see during that explanation makes it much more intense, and adds to the main story.
  • Location.  Canada is beautiful, and amazingly, looks just like all the movies I’ve seen recently that are set in more suburban/rural areas of the east coast of the United States.  Hmm…wait a sec… I guess those tax breaks for filming in Canada are pretty substantial, eh?

Weepy Meter:  1/10       There are a couple of emotional moments, and you really do feel some sympathy for Max based on his past.  But again, it’s not that kind of movie.  Duh.

Man Meter:       7/10       Most guys like horror movies, and they like to go with girls, because they can pretend that they aren’t actually scared, and be tough for the wimpy chicks they take with them, so your odds are pretty good there.  Plus, Jennifer Lawrence is cute.

Overall Rating: 5/10       It was fun, and I was on edge for a decent amount of the movie, but it wasn’t that good.  I definitely don’t need to see this one again.  At least, not on purpose.  If someone shows it at a Halloween party, for example, I won’t protest loudly, especially if I have a drink in hand.


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