First of all, I realize it’s based on a book of the same name..but for the love of Harry Potter, could you please title it something a teensy bit catchier? The House With A Clock In It's Walls doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue….
If only my criticism of this movie ended there.
Perhaps it’s because it’s based on a book written quite a long time ago, (1973 to be exact), with the onslaught of all things occult-ish and supernatural in nature hitting our big screens these days, this movie pales in comparison.
The film is set in 1955, where a newly orphaned ten year old boy named Lewis, gets sent to live with his uncle Jonathan (Jack Black) in Zebedeee Michigan…an uncle who happens to be a Warlock, living in a super cool creepy old haunted mansion…and is Bff’s with the witch next door, played by the stunning Cate Blanchett
I’m sure anything in the above sentence might be odd and interesting to read back in 1955….but folks, this is 2018, where witches, warlocks, and superheroes are as common as doctors and lawyers. You’re going to have to do better than that to impress today’s kids.
Anyhoodles, Lewis quickly learns that there’s a hidden clock in the house that’s counting down, and no one knows to what. There’s tell of Uncle Jonathan’s former Magic Show partner, and evil Warlock (played by the always creepy Kyle MacLachlan) being behind the mysterious clock, and that he hid inside the house before he died. And Oh my GAWD are you still awake? Because I’m mid snooze! Yes, I get it…this is for children…but so are the bajillion other awesome supernatural kids movies of the last ten years, and none of them threatened to put me to sleep thirty minutes in.
Even the witty insult-slinging (but secretly they adore each other), bantering between Blanchett and Black’s characters seems staler than two week old bread. I mean, come ON. This is the best we could do?
I pepped up for a half a second when it is revealed that the evil Warlock in question went away to fight for the US in Nazi Germany during WWII and came back a changed man. Who doesn’t love a good Hitler-obsessed-with-the-occult sub plot! Alas, his time in Nazi Germany had nothing to do with the fuhrer, and falls flatter than the last time I tried to wear high-heels.
Listen, this movie isn't awful, there are some spooky moments, and a couple of giggly jokes: the backyard Topiary Lion’s puking and farting up dead leaves and debris, a comfy chair that seems to be some sort of house pet, or Lewis bewitching a basketball to take out some mean kids and swish the basket for two points, but we saw most of that in the trailers.
The House With A Clock In It's Walls is like watching an old Disney Channel made for Halloween movie, only much worse. Even an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place, or the tour de force known as TWITCHES (YASSSS) slays in comparison.
Normally in a situation like this, I’ll tell you guys to wait until it comes out on cable, or suggest you stream it online, but I’m not even sure I want to go that far.
If this movie spawns a sequel, I’ll puke up my own dead leaves and debris.