Lewis Barnavelt, after losing his parents, is sent to Michigan to live with his uncle Jonathan. He discovers his uncle is a warlock, and enters a world of magic and sorcery. But this power is not limited to good people: Lewis learns of Isaac Izard, an evil wizard who wanted to cause the Apocalypse so that he could see what happened afterwards. To do this, he constructed a magical clock with black magic, as long as it exists it will keep ticking, counting down to doomsday. He died before he could finish the clock, but he hid the clock in his house, where Uncle Jonathan now lives. Now Lewis and Jonathan must find the clock before it's too late, and before Isaac's wife, Selena, gets to it.
The fictional 'House with a Clock in Its Walls' was based on the real-life Cronin Mansion in author John Bellairs' hometown of Marshall, Michigan, which served as the basis for the town of New Zebedee used in his books. See more »
The film is set in 1955, yet the school in the film features several non-Caucasian students. This is only a year after Brown V. Board of Education, so it's highly unlikely the school would not only have this high of a minority population, but also no discrimination of any kind. See more »
Orphaned and sent to live with his Uncle Johnathan (Jack Black), Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) soon discovers that his Uncle is a Warlock, and his neighbour Mrs. Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett) is a witch. Together the three of them investigate the mansion that their living in - that formally belonged to a powerful and evil Warlock Issac Izard (Kyle MacLachlan), particularly the mysterious ticking that they can hear at night, seemingly coming from within the walls themselves.
Truth be told, I am probably much older than the target audience for this one. The reviews have talked about this being Eli Roth's first family friendly film but there isn't honestly a lot for the parents in the audience to sink their teeth into. The performances are generally OK, although Jack Black does resort to "Jack Black" a few more times than is really necessary. The story is OK, though it ends somewhat abruptly. Occasionally the CGI is a bit of a let-down, but this is the exception rather than the norm, in fact most of the time the film is visually charming..
It is occasionally a little too scary for some of the younger children who might see it, but most would cope without any issues.
The trouble is that it doesn't really add up to very much. You're unlikely to hate it but you probably won't love it either.
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