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Saturday, May 30, 2015


With a title like THE HOUSE ACROSS THE STREET (2013), it sounds like some generic horror/slasher flick.  But that's just the first of many surprises that this taut, nail-biting suspense thriller has in store for us.

Amy (Jessica Sonneborn, THE WITCHES OF OZ) has just moved into a house on a quiet dead-end street, but it doesn't take long for her to suspect that there's something very wrong going on in the titular abode.  The hit-and-run death of an old woman is hushed up, while Amy's overly friendly neighbors nervously evade the subject whenever she presses them for information.  And when she tries to learn more, she's harrassed by the local cops including a too-smooth Eric Roberts (SHARKTOPUS, A CRY FROM WITHIN).

The mystery of the house intensifies along with Amy's general distress as she witnesses some disturbing goings-on through her window blinds in the dead of night.  The more she finds out, the more dangerous is her involvement, and before long she begins to suspect that even genial family guy Ned (Courtney Gains) and senile old Mr. Barnes (Alex Rocco) aren't what they seem.

There's a Dean Koontz quality to this "plucky single woman in peril" set-up, although as a heroine Amy is somewhat of a whodunnit herself.  We know she's running from some terrible event in her past--her ex-boyfriend Joey (Nick Apostolides) mentions "the trial" and Amy freaks out when she can't get her prescription for "anti-psychotics" refilled at the pharmacy. 

Jessica Sonneborn plays the role to a turn, keeping us guessing about what's going on behind Amy's unstable fascade.  Every time someone speaks to Amy, she acts distracted, preoccupied, as though she's snapping out of a reverie.  We wonder what has happened to make her slip sideways from reality like this, and eventually I even started to think that the whole intrigue surrounding the mysterious house might be a product of her own mental derangement. 

In addition to Sonneborn, director Arthur Luhn has a wonderfully solid cast to work with here including the perpetually-awesome Eric Roberts at the top of his game as the shady cop Peterson.  Alex Rocco, memorable as THE GODFATHER's "Moe Green", is great playing the old-guy neighbor. Familiar face Courtney Gains of CHILDREN OF THE CORN and MEMPHIS BELLE fame has actually become a bit less creepy with age, while Ethan Embry (EMPIRE RECORDS, VEGAS VACATION, STANDING STILL), as Amy's landlord, Tom, maintains an interesting screen persona while finally playing grown-ups.  

Luhn's self-confident direction is "stylish" in the best kind of way--his shots are endlessly interesting and eye-pleasing without being overtly so. The editing is quirky but, again, in a subtle sort of way.  I like the loose, almost dreamlike feel and unhurried pace of the first half of the film, which gradually gives way to an almost Hitchcockian suspense as Amy doggedly makes her way closer to the dangerous truth.

The DVD from Level 33 Entertainment is widescreen with English subtitles.  Extras consist of two trailers and a behind-the-scenes photo gallery.

The air of hidden corruption in an idyllic small town setting reminded me of BLUE VELVET, especially since people keep accusing Amy of "playing detective" just as Kyle MacLachlan's character did in the earlier film.  But THE HOUSE ACROSS THE STREET has its own startling twists and turns--a few too many, in fact, since by the fadeout we're a bit overwhelmed by them--and stands on its own as a worthy and substantial addition to the suspense-thriller genre. 

Buy it at

Teaser trailer
Twitter: @Level33_ent
Release date: May 26, 2015


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