Advertisements
Film Film Reviews

‘The House with a Clock in its Walls’ | Film Review Tick Tock

The House with a Clock in its Walls Review
3

Summary

Hickory Dickory Dock, Eli Roth may have taken a departure from his schlock, but on this fantastical trip are signposts of his love for spooking audiences, only this time the gore is replaced by a child-like glee of showing that it’s fun to be scared.

Knock Knock“… who’s there? Well, unlike Eli Roth’s house-bound thriller led by Keanu Reeves, The House with a Clock in its Walls is not what you’d expect from the torture-horror aficionado director. That isn’t to say there are no traces of nastiness and scares, but it’s certainly his most accessible feature to date.

Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) is a young lad with a love for dictionaries which makes him a little strange and alone. Lewis’ parents have died so he moves to Michigan under the care of eccentric uncle Jonathan (Jack Black) who lives in a supposedly haunted house, where the walls tick and nothing is what it seems.

To have Steven Spielberg’s impressive company Amblin Entertainment behind The House with a Clock in its Walls must be pretty daunting. Gladly, Eli Roth does manage to pull off a mostly entertaining movie that fits into this back catalogue of family-friendly productions. He doesn’t lose the horror edge though; there are nightmares to be had for kids growing up to appreciate the genre, thanks to visuals of creepy dolls, animated pumpkins spewing their guts, and perhaps the most terrifying sight of Jack Black going ga-ga like you’ve never seen him before.

An abundance of clocks scattered around the special house decorates the movie like a foreboding countdown to a climax of power and time. At only 1 hour 40, the film does feel a stretch too long, but come the red crackling showdown of Lewis, his uncle and a dependable neighbour in the form of Florence (Cate Blanchett) against a blast from the past, the story comes alive with some energy once again, like a cuckoo bursting from its mechanical home.

As for the setting of The House with a Clock in its Walls, planting the events in the 1950s does wonders for the storytelling. The lack of technology gifts the movie a magic alongside the actual wizardry that occurs throughout the narrative. It may not be a totally memorable movie, nor will it win prizes for originality, but the inclusions of loss, togetherness, blood magic, war and shape-shifting all play a good part to conjure up a shadowy and fantastical feature for families to enjoy.

Black is back with his Jack Black-attack shtick, which can get old but it never screams down the OTT route; he knows when to suppress that rock star energy. Cate Blanchett doesn’t only wash the Gothic ambience with a coat of purple but is a strong feature as always; her role as the friend and next door ally are convincing and show a softer side. Vaccaro leads with his passion for words, goggles and a helpful 8-Ball but can be quite annoying; he’s not the best child actor to grace the screen but he’s got enough zip to keep from being unbearable.

Hickory Dickory Dock, Eli Roth may have taken a departure from his schlock, but on this fantastical trip are signposts of his love for spooking audiences, only this time the gore is replaced by a child-like glee of showing that it’s fun to be scared.

Advertisements
Like what we do? We need you. Support Ready Steady Cut on Patreon for as little as $1 a month to help the site grow.

1 comment on “‘The House with a Clock in its Walls’ | Film Review Tick Tock

  1. Well written review. We share some similar thoughts about this film. Good job!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: