Review: THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS Was Delightful Family Horror Movie Fun
I'm not the biggest fan of director Eli Roth. Cabin Fever was a decent film but I haven't really cared for anything else that he's done, especially the Hostel films. The guy is mostly known for his style of hardcore horror and torture porn, so it was shocking to see that he was going to be directing a family horror movie for Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment called The House With a Clock In Its Walls. I was even more shocked by the fact that I actually enjoyed the movie!
Look, The House With a Clock In Its Walls was far from perfect, and there were certain aspects that bugged me about it, but for the most part, it was an enjoyable movie! I'd even go as far to say that it's my favorite Eli Roth film and probably one of the better movies he's made. Remember, this is coming from a guy that doesn't want to admit that he liked an Eli Roth film.
The movie is a fun PG family horror film and after seeing it, I'm actually kinda surprised that it landed a PG rating! The film packed full of some pretty dark elements and the humor is pretty dark as well. There were several hilarious moments that had me laughing, though. That humor helped brighten up the darkness of the film. Even though the film was full of charm, there were also a few legitimately scary moments that are going to terrify the kids.
The fact that this is a family horror movie with so much humorous darkness is what drew me too it. It reminded me of films like The Burbs, The Gate, Monster Squad, Poltergeist, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Monster House. In fact, if I had seen The House With a Clock In Its Walls when I was kid, I would have loved the hell out of it! I would have watched the movie over and over again. I had a blast watching these kinds of movies when I was a kid. This movie does a good job of tapping into certain cinematic nostalgic emotions and I’m not sure if it meant to do that.
When you're a kid you don't notice the faults in a film. You just enjoy it for what it is. But, when you're older... you do notice the stupid crap. There was one scene in particular that I didn't really care for. I don't really want to spoil it for you, but I will say that it takes place during the climax of the film, it involves the film’s star Jack Black, and it's just over the top silliness that didn't really fit in with the tone of the rest of the movie. When you see the scene, you'll know it.
The movie centers around a ten-year-old boy named Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) who goes to live with his crazy uncle in an old spooky creaky house after his parents die. The house contains a mysterious ticking noise and with it a dangerous secret. He soon learns that his Uncle Jonathan (Jack Black) and his feisty neighbor, Mrs. Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett), are powerful practitioners of the magic arts. After Lewis awakens the dead, all hell breaks loose and they have to do everything they can to stop the evil that he has awakened.
Jack Black was great in the movie, he fit his role perfectly. But, it was Blanchett that stole the show. She was so much fun to watch in this. You can tell that the actors had a good time making this movie.
The House With a Clock In Its Walls is a enjoyable movie worth checking out, especially if you have kids that have a little dark side to them.