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HUNGER GAMES star Jennifer Lawrence was almost competing with herself this Spring, but as that blockbuster's fever began to rise, Relativity saw fit to move her more horror-oriented project, the smaller HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET to a more appropriate autumn home. Still, it only makes sense to get the Mark Tonderai-directed scare story on everyone's radar at this very moment, and alongside the brand new trailer below, catch some exclusive words with the director about the title's familiar rhythm, and of course, working with young star Lawrence.
HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET sees "newly divorced Sarah (Shue) and her daughter Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) find the house of their dreams in a small, upscale, rural town. But when startling and unexplainable events begin to happen, Sarah and Elissa learn the town is in the shadows of a chilling secret. Years earlier, in the house next door, a daughter killed her parents in their beds, and disappeared - leaving only a brother, Ryan (Max Thieriot), as the sole survivor. Against Sarah's wishes, Elissa begins a relationship with the reclusive Ryan - and the closer they get, the deeper they're all pulled into a mystery more dangerous than they ever imagined."
As mentioned above, the pure rhythm of saying HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET holds a certain pedigree for genre fans, evoking memories of a particular breed of horror. When asked if he thinks the upcoming film holds any parallels to the likes of LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT or THE HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK, Tonderai tells Fango, "We call it HATES, that’s what I always called it, and in
strange way, I’m kind of relying on that because the film tries to subvert
that. I always say to people HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET, and they give me
that look of disdain, which I find odd around horror. Horror and Comedy are
sort of like the bad cousins of Drama, and I always hated that because I think
they’re the best of it. So, I go, 'No, no, it’s not what you expect.' It really
isn’t what you expect. I can ask you what you think it’s going to be and it
probably contains elements of some of those things, but then it’s not. It’s
kind of a gamble on our part.
"I was talking to a mate of mine about the whole notion of
horror, and I don’t subscribe to the view of what horror might be now;
spattering limbs and blood on windows, whatever that might be," he continues. "What it does do,
in my mind, is subscribe to Stephen King’s definition of horror, which is a
pervasive sense of disestablishment, the feeling something bad is around the
corner, that’s what he writes in DANSE MACABRE. I don’t know that off by heart [laughs]. That’s what horror means to me. It [HOUSE AT THE END..] does that, in a really visceral way, and you’re
kind of in this no man’s land of impending doom. Something very, very bad is
going to happen and I think why it works is because you think you know what’s
going to happen, and trust me, it doesn’t."
Of course, the film will now benefit from the monster success of THE HUNGER GAMES, but more than that, Lawrence's involvement seems to be a bit of a vouch. It's clear the young actress is attracted to resilient and resourceful young ladies (WINTER'S BONE, THE HUNGER GAMES), something horror often has more of than it may get credit for. "Exactly," the director agrees. "Now I’m talking about something
that’s a real bee in my bonnet. It’s better for people to take this film in the
way that’s been made, and the way that’s been presented and the actual the final product is, and not go in there with all these misconceptions
that we’re exploiting her, because that’s absolute bullshit. This is a film
that’s got two female leads in it, and they’re very, very strong, and it revolves
around them. It’s a scary film, and it’s a real thrill ride of a film but at
its core is this relationship. Jennifer Lawrence and Elisabeth Shue, both have
been nominated for Academy Awards, they’re in the top five percent of acting
talent on the planet. They’re not stupid. They’re not going to go and do
something they think is beneath them. It’s strange to me, the general
conception about this sort of genre. In some ways, it’s way more advanced than
what people say. It’s a real frustration for me. I’m hoping people give it the
shot that it deserves. I’m glad that we’ve got Jen and she’s a star and people
will go to it because of her and say , 'Fuck, this is a really good film.' I
really want the audience to enjoy it."
HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET is out September 21.
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