Known for bringing fantastical events to the big screen, Amblin Entertainment now breathes life to the well-loved novel of John Bellairs – The House With a Clock in its Walls. Ten-year-old orphan Lewis (Owen Vaccaro)is sent to stay with his eccentric Uncle Jonathan (Jack Black) in a creepy house adorned with creepier Jack-O-Lanterns. Trying his best to fit in his new home and new school, Lewis encounters one road bump after another. In the home front, he secretly watches his uncle search for a ticking clock in the walls as he is constantly fed with delicious chocolate chip (with nuts) cookies by their forever purple-clad neighbor Mrs. Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett). School poses a different and meaner environment. The new boy has to fit but donning goggles on his forehead only puts him in the radar of the bullies.
Soon after he discovers that his uncle is a wizard and his close friend a witch. Lewis begs Uncle Jonathan to teach him the intricacies of magic, he is handed a ton of books instead. As he improves on his spells and incantations, Lewis also makes headway in school as cool kid Tarby (Sunny Suljic) befriends him.
Things don’t remain cheery for long. As Lewis practices the craft he learns that his adult companions are on a quest to save the world. The original house was owned by a powerful wizard Isaac (Kyle Maclachlan) who died a mysterious death and left the clock as a reminder of his impending return. All hell breaks loos literally when Lewis and Tarby (who by this time has shed his friendly cloak to reveal his true colors) open the forbidden cabinet. Lewis now must own up to the consequences of his action.
From vomiting pumpkins and an animated recliner seat, creepy automatons and musical instruments that play themselves, the magic in The House with a clock on its Walls is spontaneous, delightful and scary.
Uncle Jonathan (Jack Black, left) and Mrs. Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett, right) wait to see if Jonathan’s nephew Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) can solve a mystery with a Magic 8 ball in “The House With A Clock in Its Walls,” the spine-tingling, magical adventure of a boy who goes to live with his eccentric uncle in a creaky old house with a mysterious tick-tocking heart. Based on the first volume in the beloved children’s series of books, the film is directed by master frightener Eli Roth.
In the end, relationships once broken are mended and new ones are formed. Strange becomes the new normal and life goes on.
From vomiting pumpkins and an animated recliner seat, creepy automatons and musical instruments that play themselves, the magic in The House with a clock on its Walls is spontaneous, delightful and scary. Being a true blue Halloweenie, I loved the eerie, dark set design. The costumes were dramatic and whimsical. I was enthralled til halfway through the movie. Owen Vaccaro’s goofball portrayal of Lewis is endearing but sometimes bordering on annoying (My daughter says, “He screams like a girl!”). Editing could be a little tighter in the end and the CGI of Jack Black as a baby seemed quite off.
Still, the movie delivers good entertainment and makes for a fun family date. So if you want to lose yourself in a world where levitation is possible, where a giant purple snake is hidden behind the door and where a lion is a plant that likes to poop—do catch The House with a Clock on its Walls in theatres near you!
With a pocketful of glitter,