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The House Across the Street (2013)
Solid Indie Thriller
I was confused at first. Very often when someone slaps the label 'Thriller' on a film its because they didn't have the sack to go full force horror, or think that because they've read enough John Grisham novels in airport lounges they know how to keep an audience hanging on every moment. And, usually, they fall face first. Its spectacularly difficult to keep the average viewer's interest (especially mine, I'll admit it) all the way up until the conclusion – that's 3 acts and roughly 90 minutes of tension – no small feat.
And that is essentially what you'll find in The House Across the Street. I say essentially because there are moments of lassitude where the momentum ebbs, or the writing is a bit awkward and pulls you out, but it is otherwise a fully immersive experience, and by the final act you'll be unable to look away or even exactly understand what's going on until the end.
Its a remarkable combination, I think, that holds the viewer. Thoughtful shots, a bleak and hopeless mood, bizarre characters and a compelling lead (Jessica Sonneborn as Amy) together build a sense of unease, that nothing is OK, that this thin veneer of happiness in an idyllic and quiet neighborhood is hiding something horrifying, slick and slimy.
Ugh. Still makes my skin crawl a bit. Makes you look twice at that neighbor that always waves when he's throwing out the trash, or offers to mow your lawn – makes you second guess those split second appraisals we make of others. What is it that Mom always used to say?
"Don't judge a book by its cover." The House Across the Street brings new light to that sentiment, and breath to the idea that 'nothing is ever as it seems'. Do you really know whats going on around you? What happens behind closed doors? Do you even dare give life to the possible horror that other people are capable of?
TL;DR The House Across the Street taps directly into our primordial hive mind and distills the primitive juices of terror from our collective lizard brain, leaving the viewer agape, jaw planted thoroughly on the floor.
Original review at http://horriblyhooched.com/