Thank you to Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures for the invitation to the advanced media screening to facilitate The House with a Clock in its Walls movie review.
The House with a Clock in its Walls comes to theatres just in time for the spookiest time of the year with a movie filled with witches, warlocks, spells, and magic. If your family enjoys magic spells and things that go bump in the night then this is a fun, family adventure you will enjoy together. Sprinkled among the spells is a bit of humor that helps get you through the scary moments.
The story revolves around a ten year old orphaned boy named Lewis Barnavelt who must go live with his uncle after the death of his parents. We see his journey, meeting Uncle Jonathan for the first time, and navigating an entirely strange new world. It does not take long before we discover Lewis is definitely not normal and Lewis discovers that his uncle is most definitely not normal, as he is a warlock. Eager to learn, Lewis asks his uncle to teach him spells and magic so he can be a warlock also.
His uncle advises him there are no rules in the house and you can even eat dessert for dinner, but later changes his mind to declare there is only one rule he has to follow. There is a cabinet he must not open, as it is under lock and key but through peer pressure the cabinet is opened and Lewis goes down a very dangerous path and adventure that threatens their very existence.
The movie with a very long name begins to explain what it is truly about when we learn Uncle Jonathan has spent years trying to find the clock hidden in the house. This is no ordinary clock, but a clock that determines when humanity will end.
Owen Vaccaro plays ten year old Lewis and his performance is joyful to watch. At his young age and amazing ability to bring a character to life, he clearly has many more roles ahead for him. Our children loved watching him onscreen and could easily see themselves in his character.
Jack Black is back in another fun movie. The last time we saw him was in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle but kids may know him better as Po from the Kung Fu Panda movies. Jack Black plays Jonathan Barnavelt, who is a warlock with many quirky features. His off-beat character is simply funny to watch and brings a smile to our face as he continues to show he has fun acting and wants the audience to enjoy it also.
There is one scene in the movie that is worth the price of admission alone. Jack Black as a baby. Seriously. This was just a hilarious scene that completely caused the audience to burst out in laughter.
Florence Zimmerman is played by Cate Blanchett, whom you may know as Hela from Thor: Ragnarok. Before you even begin to know who Florence is, you learn one thing immediately. Purple is her favorite color. Literally from head to toe she wears everything purple. From her hair to her gloves, shades of purple are everywhere. We do not know why she likes purple but we definitely know she is a force to be reckoned with, as she is a witch. Her powers are not as powerful as they once were, which we sadly learn the reason behind.
Uncle Jonathan and Florence are neighbors who share a great friendship based upon their mutual love of hurling verbal insults toward each other. These moments provide much laughter as they seek to outwit the other.
Isaac Izard is played by Kyle MacLachlan, who voiced the dad in Inside Out and played Calvin Zabo from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Isaac is one creepy character. Kyle MacLachlan delivers a powerful performance showing that the guy who looks like your nice next door neighbor can in fact be something all together evil.
A creepy house filled with clocks everywhere, a chair with character, and a house that comes alive in every way possible was fun to watch just to see what new feature would come alive next. In the preview there is a stained glass painting of a ship that begins to move in the waves. Only seen briefly but it adds quite a bit of creepiness to the house. Audiences at first may begin to feel sorry for the new home Lewis has but eventually turns to delight as we realize the house is a newly found playground for a ten year old boy.
The House with a Clock in its Walls is a magical journey filled with sorcery, humor, and scary moments but this fun family film may just be a magical movie to watch with your family this Halloween.
Parental Advisory (SPOILER ALERT)
We were advised that this movie is suggested for children seven years and older. After watching the movie we agree that this may not be one for younger children. If you are not sure if this is appropriate for your children, as always, go see the movie yourself first to make the judgement call for your children before taking them to see the movie.
There is a tremendous amount of magic in this movie with sorcery, spells, black magic, and blood magic.
There are a few scary moments for younger children.There are two instances where a cage dangles high in the air holding a person, one is a child, and it is dropped onto spikes below. A graveyard is entered at night and a spell is cast to wake the dead. The grave is raised above the ground and then opens. Statues and dolls come to life. There are several instances of bullying in school. Pumpkins come alive and try to eat people.
There is no need to stay through the credits, as there is nothing to see at the end. If you do want to stay through the beginning of the credits there are few animations that were fun for our family to watch.
The House with a Clock in its Walls is rated PG for thematic elements including sorcery, some action, scary images, rude humor and language.
The House with a Clock in its Walls Movie Review by Kids
Be sure to watch the movie review by our Plugged In Kids below. Watch to the end to see the outtakes. The outtakes are their favorite part.
[quote]In the tradition of Amblin classics where fantastical events occur in the most unexpected places, Jack Black and two-time Academy Award® winner Cate Blanchett star in The House with a Clock in Its Walls, from Amblin Entertainment. The magical adventure tells the spine-tingling tale of 10-year-old Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) who goes to live with his uncle in a creaky old house with a mysterious tick-tocking heart. But his new town’s sleepy façade jolts to life with a secret world of warlocks and witches when Lewis accidentally awakens the dead.
Based on the beloved children’s classic written by John Bellairs and illustrated by Edward Gorey, The House with a Clock in Its Walls is directed by master frightener Eli Roth and written by Eric Kripke (creator of TV’s Supernatural). Co-starring Kyle MacLachlan, Colleen Camp, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Vanessa Anne Williams, Lorenza Izzo and Sunny Suljic, it is produced by Mythology Entertainment’s Brad Fischer (Shutter Island) and James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), as well as Kripke.[/quote]
- Release Date: September 21, 2018
- Format: 2D
- Rating: PG
- Running Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Cast: Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sunny Suljic and Kyle MacLachlan
- Director: Eli Roth
- Producers: Brad Fischer, James Vanderbilt, Eric Kripke
- Executive Producers: William Sherak, Tracey Nyberg, Laeta Kalogridis, Mark McNair
- Writer: Eric Kripke
- Based on the Novel by: John Bellairs
- Studio: Universal Pictures
Photos provided by Universal Pictures. Used with permission.