Monster House
Film Review

Made using the red hot motion capture technique they pioneered during the making of Polar Express, Monster House sees heavy weight producers Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg realise the full potential this animation method has to offer.

Everything about Monster House is stunning. The animation, thanks to the motion capture, is sublime. Using real actors to generate the 3D characters' movements gives them a life-like quality not even the best animators would produce. The first few minutes of the film are in fact a little uneasy for the viewer as you fight to reconcile the stylised animated look of the film with motion your brain knows full well is human. You quickly settle in however and are sucked into the brilliantly conceived and executed story.

Not an out and out horror but with a heavy creep factor and plenty of laughs along the way, Monster House concerns DJ, a young boy caught between kidhood and the arrival of puberty and his battle to defeat the house across the street form his own which he is convinced has somehow been brought to life by an evil spirit. The house belongs to a fierce old man who snatches any toy that strays onto his lawn and chases off any kid who comes near. When the old man, Mr. Nebbercracker (voiced by Steve Buscemi) is taken to hospital, DJ (Mitchel Musso), his best friend Chowder (Sam Lerner) along with a pretty girl called Jenny (Spencer Locke) attempt to destroy the houses' evil heart after it tries to eat Jenny.

The ensuing adventure inside the house sees the three children battling the building from within and discovering the strange source of the house's possession. But having awoken the full fury of it's ghostly spirit the children face the monumental task of destroying it once and for all.

The films look is enough to recommend it to anyone, I think it will be viewed in retrospect as a milestone in the continuing rise of the animated feature film but much more than just the way it looks this film succeeds thanks to the brilliant script and outstanding directing from first time feature director Gil Kenan. Funny, creepy, stunning, Monster House is a delightful and refreshing film, a must see.

Neil McFarland

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