House at the End of the Street Ending Explained & Plot Analysis

Thriller House at the End of the Street: a face on a tree and other telling details. House at the End of the Street (2012): plot summary, meaning of the film, explanation of the ending, essence, similar movies.

Country: USA, Canada

Genre: drama, horror, thriller

Year of production: 2012

Director: Mark Tonderai

Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue, Max Thieriot

Slogan: “Fear reaches out… for the girl next door” (“Fear reaches out… to the girl next door”).

House at the End of the Street is an American psychological thriller directed by Mark Tonderaya, which tells the story of a girl who moves to a small town and settles next to the house where a double murder took place several years ago. The meaning of the picture is quite simple; an analysis of the plot of the film House at the End of the Street will help you understand it.

What is the movie about

The film “House at the End of the Street” opens with a scene in which a girl named Carrie Ann kills her Jacobson parents.

The film takes place four years later. Elissa Cassidy and her mother Sarah move to a small town and settle next to the house where a double murder took place several years ago and in which they believe no one lives.

Jennifer Lawrence of House at the End of the Street
Elisabeth Shue played the role of Sarah, Jennifer Lawrence starred as Elissa. Still from the film House at the End of the Street

At a housewarming party, Sarah and Elissa learn the history of the neighbor’s house from their neighbors, the Reynolds. Carrie Ann fled into the woods after the murder and was never found. It is believed that she drowned in the lake, but locals believe that she is still hiding in the forest. The victims left behind a son, Ryan, who was visiting relatives at the time of the incident and therefore survived. He lives in his parents’ house, the city residents do not communicate with him.

The Reynolds say that because of the bad reputation of his house on their street, the value of housing is falling, so they have long wanted to buy the building and raze it to the ground, but this has not been possible. Elissa meets Tyler, the son of the Reynolds and a local major. In the evening, the Cassidys return home, someone is watching them from behind the trees.

Tyler invites Elissa to a charity event. The girl comes and ends up at the party: from Tyler’s explanations it follows that he and his friends secretly take money for donations from their parents, and spend the free time having fun. After quarreling with her boyfriend, Elissa goes home. Along the way, she meets her neighbor Ryan Jacobson. The guy says that he lives in his parents’ house due to the lack of other options, but plans to finish renovating it, sell it and leave the city.

Elissa tells her mother that she met Ryan. Sarah doesn’t like the news. Meanwhile, the guy prepares dinner and takes it to the basement. He is attacked by the girl he is addressing, whom he calls by his sister’s name. After injecting her with a sedative, he asks her to leave Elissa alone.

Elissa meets local youth and accepts an invitation to play in a music group. Sarah meets local sheriff Bill Weaver and asks if Ryan is safe for others. The policeman defends the guy and says that he had a hard life, but despite this, no one had problems with him.

Max Thieriot of House at the End of the Street
Max Thieriot stars as Ryan. Still from the film House at the End of the Street

Further in the plot of the film “House at the End of the Street,” Elissa begins to communicate with Ryan. The guy tells her about what happened many years ago: from his description of the events, it becomes clear that he and his sister were riding on a swing, while their parents were using drugs in the house. The girl fell and hit herself, and when she woke up, she changed: she constantly cried and screamed, attacked her family, broke things and was not oriented in space. As a result, tragedy occurred.

Elissa tells her mother about spending time with Ryan. Sarah doesn’t like it. She invites the guy to dinner and asks him to stop talking to her daughter alone. The guy agrees, despite the girl’s protests. In the evening, Carrie Ann escapes and heads to Elissa’s house, but Ryan manages to catch her and return her to the basement.

The next day, Elissa and Ryan meet and sit in front of a large tree. The guy tells how his mother brought him here, pointed to a tree trunk and said that there was some kind of secret in everything. For a long time he could not see anything, but one day he understood the meaning of her words. Ryan invites the girl to look at the tree from a certain angle: the key to his actions is that this is the only way to see the face on it. The guy says that people don’t notice the secrets around them that are waiting to be discovered.

Ryan and Elissa arrive at the guy’s house. Carrie Ann escapes from the basement again. Ryan sees this and kicks Elissa out of the house, saying she needs to go home immediately. Carrie Ann gets out and runs to the road where there is a car with people. Ryan intercepts her, drags her into the bushes and covers her mouth, preventing her from making any noise. While holding the girl, he accidentally breaks her neck.

Ryan buries Carrie Ann and goes to a roadside cafe, where he talks with the waitress. He then calls Elissa and asks for forgiveness. The girl invites him to a concert of her band. The guy comes to the performance. Tyler and his friends attack and beat him, but Ryan fights back and breaks Tyler’s legs, after which he runs away.

Ellie MacDonald of House at the End of the Street
Ellie MacDonald as Gillian. Still from the film House at the End of the Street

Elissa goes to Ryan and discovers that Tyler’s friends have decided to burn down his house. She puts out the fire and then discovers a contact lens package in the trash. She goes down to the basement, where she is attacked by a girl. Ryan appears and says it’s Carrie Anne, then shoos Elissa outside and injects her sister with a sedative.

Elissa finds the documents of the girl who attacked her and realizes that Ryan is passing off another person as Carrie Ann (the kidnapped woman is a waitress from the cafe where Ryan drank coffee). The idea is that he used contact lenses to change the color of the girl’s eyes and make her look like his sister.

Ryan appears. He asks Elissa not to tell anyone about Carrie Anne. The girl promises and wants to leave, but the guy realizes that his secret has been revealed and stuns her.

Further in the plot of the film “The House at the End of the Street,” a flashback follows, from the content of which it becomes clear that Carrie Ann died immediately after falling from the swing.

Elissa wakes up tied up in the basement. Opposite in the bed lies the body of a kidnapped girl. Ryan explains to her that Carrie Ann died instantly. The girl asks who actually killed the guy’s parents, but gets no answer. Ryan says he can’t live without his sister. The hidden meaning of what happened over several years was that he kidnapped girls, gave them a resemblance to his sister, and then kept them in the basement. The guy decides to replace Carrie Ann with Elissa and leaves her in the basement, and carries away the waitress’s body.

House at the End of the Street Ending explained

At the end of The House at the End of the Street, the sheriff arrives at Ryan’s house. At this time, Elissa tries to persuade the guy to let her go and convinces him that he is not to blame for the death of his sister. In response to this, Ryan says that he received punishment for not looking after his sister, but was able to stop it.

Ryan goes upstairs and talks to the sheriff. The man wonders if he has seen Elissa. The guy answers in the negative, but Bill understands that the girl is in the house. Ryan attacks and stabs him, then accuses him of knowing what was going on but not doing anything. A flashback follows, in which it is shown that Bill was using drugs with Ryan’s parents at the time of the tragedy, and therefore subsequently covered for them. The sheriff dies.

Elissa frees herself and tries to get out of the house. Ryan tranquilizes her and places her in the trunk of the car next to the waitress’s body. Sarah arrives. Ryan hurts her. Elissa gets out and confronts him. With the help of her wounded mother, she manages to neutralize him.

At the end of The House at the End of the Street, Sarah and Elissa leave town. Having loaded her things into the car, the mother goes to look for her daughter and finds her near the tree where the girl once talked to Ryan. Elissa wonders if her mother sees something in the tree, hinting at a face, but the woman answers in the negative.

At the end of the thriller, Ryan is in a mental hospital. A final flashback follows, showing his memories. Dressed in a dress, Ryan’s mother congratulates him on his birthday, while addressing the boy as Carrie Ann. The son tries to argue that he is Ryan, but the woman hits him and says that he is now called after his sister.

The meaning of the ending of the film “House at the End of the Street” is that after the death of their daughter, the parents of Ryan and Carrie Ann punished their son: they forced him to impersonate his sister, dressing him in a woman’s dress and addressing him as a girl.

Elissa's imprisonment of House at the End of the Street
Still from the film House at the End of the Street

The meaning of the film House at the End of the Street

The premise of The House at the End of the Street is quite simple. There is no hidden meaning or deep ideas here; you can understand the director’s intention by following the plot of the film.

Four years before the events shown in the film, the parents of Ryan and Carrie Ann Jacobson used drugs in the company of the local sheriff, Bill. At this time, their children were riding on a swing. A tragedy occurred: the girl fell and died. Her father buried her in the garden, and as punishment, the adults dressed the boy in women’s clothing, began calling her by his daughter’s name, and forced him to be Carrie Ann.

The adults explained the boy’s absence by his departure to his aunt. The sheriff, who was present at the tragedy and turned out to be its unwitting accomplice, covers for the Jacobsons and does not take any measures to stop the abuse of the child. This continued until the boy ran out of patience and killed his parents. The sheriff, having learned about this, helped him: from his interpretation of the events, presented to the residents of the city, it followed that the killer of the parents was Carrie Ann, who was injured after the fall. The girl, having committed a crime, ran into the forest and drowned in a pond. Ryan was with his aunt at the time and therefore was not injured.

Meanwhile, the boy has mental problems. Due to his strong attachment to his sister and due to bullying from his parents, he suffers from the absence of Carrie Ann. Ryan begins to kidnap girls and, giving them a resemblance to his sister, keeps them in the basement. This continues until Elissa appears. With her visit, Ryan’s secret is revealed.

The episode with the tree on which Elissa examined the face deserves attention. The girl returns to this place at the end of the picture before leaving the city. Perhaps the explanation for this ending is that Carrie Ann is buried under this tree. Ryan, by talking about the mysteries waiting to be solved, could be hinting that he actually wants him and the crimes he committed to be solved.

tree with secrets of House at the End of the Street
Still from the film House at the End of the Street

Similar films

  • “Don’t tell anyone” (Denmark, Netherlands, 2022). A young couple goes for a weekend out of town to visit a family with a mute child.
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane” (USA, 2016). After a car accident, a girl comes to her senses and finds herself chained to a bed in a bunker.
  • “Asylum” (USA, 2010). A forensic psychiatrist works with a patient suffering from multiple personality disorder.
  • Mother!” (USA, 2017). The idyll of a married couple is destroyed by strangers visiting their home.
  • “Straw Dogs” (USA, 2011). A young family arrives in a quiet town and finds themselves in great danger.

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