The House with a Clock in Its Walls
The House with a Clock in Its Walls is a 2018 American dark fantasy comedy film directed by Eli Roth, based on the 1973 novel of the same name by John Bellairs. The film stars Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sunny Suljic, and Kyle MacLachlan.
The story follows a young boy who is sent to live with his uncle (Jack Black) in a creaky old house, where he soon learns it was previously also inhabited by his uncle's former friend, a warlock who planned to end the world with a clock he had made and hidden within the house.
Why It Rocks
- Great CGI effects, especially with the use of magic throughout the movie.
- An interesting plot with a good mix of horror, fantasy, and humor.
- Jack Black and Cate Blachette give an excellent performance as both Florence Zimmerman and Uncle Johnathan respectively. In fact, the cast does a pretty good job as a whole (With exceptions such as Lewis).
- Likeable characters (With the exception of Lewis), such as Uncle Johnathan, who does a good job providing the movie with some comic relief, and Florence might seem like the old woman next door who is a witch, but it turns out that she has a tragic backstory later on in the film. The two also have really good chemistry.
- Issac Izard is a convincing antagonist who has a plan to end the world that makes sense in this case because of his tragic past and wanting to reverse all of that.
- Decent horror elements.
- Funny moments, such as Uncle Johnathan accidently making popcorn with his magic and Uncle Johnathan saying "It's a kimono" at the beginning of the film.
- The 50s atmosphere is quite convincing, with the film even starting with an old fashioned version of the Universal logo.
- It is mostly accurate to the source material.
- The film almost feels like something Tim Burton could make.
- Lewis is a bad protagonist compared to his book counterpart, who was inventive, intelligent, and a well defined character who always found a clever way to solve his issues. Here, he's mostly a crybaby with poor motivation and his acting can be rather questionable, especially during scared and emotional responses.
- Some toliet humor, such as 3 jokes involving the topiary griffin pooping. There is also a scene with Uncle Johnathan (As a baby thanks to the Doomsday Device made by Issac Izard) peeing on Lewis.
The House with a Clock in Its Walls received lukewarm-to-favourable reviews from critics and audiences, who largely praised the cast but said the film did not fully live up to its potential. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 66% based on 209 reviews, with an average rating of 5.94/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "An entertaining PG detour for gore maestro Eli Roth, The House with a Clock in its Walls is a family-friendly blend of humor and horror with an infectious sense of fun."