The House With a Clock in Its Walls
Directed By: Eli Roth
Starring: Jack Black, Cate Blanchette, Owen Vaccaro, Kyle McLaughlin, Renée Elise Goldberry, Colleen Camp, Sunny Suljic, Vanessa Ann Williams, Lorenza Izzo, et. al.
After his parents die in a tragic accident, 10 year old Lewis Barnavelt is sent to live with his eccentric Uncle Jonathan in New Zebedee, Michigan. Upon arriving in his uncle’s house, Lewis begins noticing strange things, like a stained glass window that keeps changing, and his uncle wandering around the halls at night knocking on walls. Unable to keep the secret from Lewis much longer, Jonathan admits that he and his neighbor, Florence Zimmerman, are a warlock and a witch, respectively, and that the house Jonathan is living in once belonged to an evil warlock named Isaac Izard who built a clock inside the house as part of a plan to destroy the world. Desperate to fit in at his new school, Lewis tells a popular boy about the magic in the house, and in an attempt to keep the boy’s favor, casts a dangerous spell with dire consequences.
Although based on a series of children’s books, the movie definitely doesn’t pander to children, which likely has something to do with the fact that the director, Eli Roth, normally makes horror films. The acting is well done, and you can tell that the older actors are having fun. The younger actors hold their own against their more experienced counterparts. The story itself is interesting and manages to keep pace throughout the run time.
The effects are all well done, and seem to be a mix of CGI and practical. The background filler is well done also, and isn’t glaringly obvious.
This is a movie that should appeal to most ages. Some of the parts may be a bit too much for small children, and those without a sense of whimsy may find it to be ham-handed to be worth their time. It may not have quite the scope and spectacle of Harry Potter, but it has potential and room to grow.
The House With a Clock in Its Walls isn’t available free to stream anywhere at the moment, but it can be rented from Redbox or Netflix home delivery service, or purchased from a participating store or on-line retailer.
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