Monster House

"Excellent"

Monster House Review


Every perfect and picturesque neighborhood - at least in the movies - has one: that creepy old house that fuels the nightmares and serves as the centerpiece of the double-dog dares for the local kids.

DJ (Mitchel Musso) has made the house his mission. He's set his bedroom up as home base to watch old Mr. Nebbercracker across the street, an irate curmudgeon (voiced by Steve Buscemi) who steals any balls or bikes that find their way into his yard, chases after kids to keep off his lawn, and, presumably, thinks the music kids listen to today is nothing but noise. Within an hour of DJ's parents leaving for the weekend, Nebbercracker is dead (from a heart attack during an apoplectic moment at finding DJ on his lawn) and DJ is finding out that the old coot might not have been the most dangerous part of the creepy old house, because the house itself is starting to... eat people.

No one believes him, obviously, so DJ and his friend Chowder (Sam Lerner), along with a prissy prep school girl named Jenny - both of whom narrowly avoided being a house meal themselves - have to stop the house, since it's Halloween and neighborhood kids will soon be walking right up to the front door like so many snack-sized candy bars.

The story is, of course, pretty simple and straightforward, with your stock heroes stepping up to save the day, pre-teen angst, and monster backstory provided in the final act. But it is also cleverly written enough to provide quite a bit of entertainment for older viewers, too. In fact, be warned: this is perhaps the hardest PG film I've seen in a while, and there are an awful lot of deaths, danger, and uvula jokes for the little 'uns.

But that's probably because the animated Monster House is clearly courting the older audience, and the upside is that the danger doesn't feel kiddie korner and sanitized, and the jokes are amusing even if you aren't just at the movie to appease a nagging 10-year-old. The voice talent, too, is a pull for older viewers, including Maggie Gyllenhaal as a bored babysitter and Jason Lee as her stoner boyfriend, Nick Cannon as an over-eager rookie cop, and Jon Heder as a burnout video game freak.

But because it's animated, and therefore duly bloodless, House is still essentially a kids' film. In fact, that may be the only reason it's animated, since it could have just as convincingly been a live-action movie, but this way we get a pretty nifty house that is drawn just so and is simultaneously an unremarkable home and a menacing living thing, complete with carpet-runner tongue and leering window-shutter eyebrows. And fortunately, though it is animated with the same motion-capture technique that Robert Zemeckis (an exec producer on this film) used for The Polar Express, Monster House avoids the same unnerving is-it-real-or-is-it-animated look from that film; never mind the rating, that is way too creepy for me to watch for 90 minutes.

The persistent question of the movie, though, is why on earth Monster House is being released in July when it is so thoroughly a Halloween film in both setting and sentiment. From its spooky subject matter to the pseudo-Elfman score, the movie clearly owes more to Tim Burton than to the traditional Disney-style animated summer family movies. It's an inexplicable marketing choice, to attempt to lure viewers into a hobgoblin mood in the middle of a heat wave, but if families decide that they are in the mood for some scares in the summertime, they will likely be pleased with what they get.

Pretty skeery.



Monster House

Facts and Figures

In Theaters: Friday 21st July 2006

Box Office USA: $73.7M

Box Office Worldwide: $73.7M

Budget: $75M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Releasing

Production compaines: Sony Pictures Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Fresh: 117 Rotten: 41

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Gil Kenan

Starring: as Little Girl (voice), as Nebbercracker (voice), as Douglas 'DJ' Hartner (voice), as Chowder (voice), as Jenny Bennett (voice), as Mom (voice), as Dad (voice), Woody Schultz as Paramedic #1 (voice), Ian McConnel as Paramedic #2 (voice), as Zee (voice), as Bones (voice), as Officer Landers (voice), as Officer Lister (voice), as Reginald 'Skull' Skulinski (voice), as Constance (voice), Erik Walker as Bully #1 (voice), Matthew Fahey as Bully #2 (voice)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

Advertisement
England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

City of Ghosts Movie Review

City of Ghosts Movie Review

This award-winning documentary plays like a thriller as it traces the work of a group...

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.