By Stacey Longo
In The House Across the Street (2013, Eyethfilms) Amy Fielder (Jessica Sonneborn) has just moved from Kansas, and rents an apartment from Tom (Ethan Embry), a creepy landlord whose over-eagerness to rent to her should have made Amy think twice from the get-go. Amy finds herself fascinated by the house across the street, and watches the goings-on over there cautiously and voraciously. She also starts meeting some of her neighbors, none who seem too eager to give her any information about the house that fascinates her so.
The neighborhood where Amy now lives must be the friendliest in New England, because Mr. Barnes (Alex Rocco) keeps insisting she come over for lunch, and Ned (Courtney Gains, who still evokes memories of Malachai from Children of the Corn even as he approaches middle age) invites her to her home and offers to bring her food. The only people who aren’t friendly are the cops—after Amy finds a woman laying in the road, Officer Peterson (Eric Roberts) warns her not to make trouble, and Amy is subsequently pulled over by the police three more times. The only person who seems willing to help is Kyle, an officer who is also fairly new to town. But the message Amy continues to get from both cops and neighbors is the same: leave well enough alone.
Apparently, this isn’t in Amy’s nature, because after snooping around town hall and getting sideswiped by a car for her efforts, she decides to check out the house across the street for herself. Now on crutches, she hobbles from room to room until she finds Daisy (Sara Murphy), the daughter of the woman who was lying in the road earlier. Daisy is drugged and weak, but Amy manages to get her out of the house and hides her away in her own place across the street.
The movie moves rapidly at this point, as Amy starts to piece together the clues and figures out what’s been going on at the house across the street and who is involved. It turns out that Amy can trust nobody, and her world and new friendships start falling apart as we head to our violent and bittersweet conclusion.
The House Across the Street boasts a dynamic, talented cast that doesn’t disappoint. Roberts is completely at home in his role of small-town officer walking that thin line between keeping citizens in line and protecting the people in his town. Alex Rocco is brilliant (as always) as the forgetful, bumbling Mr. Barnes, and stole every scene in which he appeared. Courtney Gains, Ethan Embry, and Josh Hammond were also notable in the film. The movie was entertaining, though it did drag in places, and the scriptwriters missed a golden opportunity to add the twist of unreliable narration when Amy ran out of antipsychotic medication. Some of the methods in which Amy figured out the truth seemed contrived, yet others were pretty clever. Overall, The House Across the Street was slow, suspenseful, and disturbing—all good things.
Check out the movie’s website here.