The Movie: 7.5/10
Give me a big old house, child with no parents, and an eccentric uncle who knows magic, and I’m in. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this movie, so I just sat down, dug into my popcorn and went along for the ride, a very fun ride. It’s not perfect, and I had a few moments of “ho hum” with some of the bits like with the pumpkins vomiting and predictable school bully part of the story, but other than that, it’s great.
I like weirdness, creepiness, doomsday tales, and odd balls, which is what we get in The House With the Clock In It’s Walls, just enough of it to make you wonder if it’s still appropriate for kids. As soon as I think that it might not be OK for little ones to absorb, I quickly decide they should just toughen up! 🙂 This is one of those stories told in a way that got me hooked from start to finish with a touch of childhood wonder because of the magic, and an adult sense of “oh that’s cool”, also because of the magic.
Our parentless boy comes to stay with his seemingly hapless uncle, who has a very interesting neighbor, both of whom we learn quickly are capable of doing a bit of wizardry and witchery. Not to mention, our characters are living in a time that feels like the 40’s, or 50’s, not sure, the sets and costumes make it seem out of time, and this strange home starts to feel like a welcoming haunted house. I love haunted houses.
I guess it’s not technically haunted, but it has something on, something the title just might clue you in on…yea, the clock in the walls. We are introduced to a character long gone who may or may not have hidden a clock in the walls to tick endlessly to drive the current inhabitant crazy. The current inhabitant being our eccentric uncle. He’s trying to find the clock, but with no luck. Of course, our young boy hero comes along and things progress a bit more quickly than before. He gets enticed to get into a cupboard he’s nto supposed to be in, finds a book, finds a key, does a magic spell, brings someone back from the dead….you know, standard kid stuff. NOW we learn more about the clock, the reason it’s ticking, and the very dark nature of it all. There is a doomsday plan involved, which I appreciate in a children’s story.
Everyone does a great job of having fun and convincing me they are the characters they are playing. I would even us the word delightful, yes, delightful. It’s funny when Kate and Jack pick on each other in that loving way. The relationships aren’t all sugar and spice and all things nice, which makes them more edgy, but still inside the cozy little world they create.
As the story goes along we learn that the boys is having a hard time making friends, there is a bully, a little girl who seems suspicious, a potential friend, orneriness in the name of impressing potential friend, oh and don’t forget about bringing someone back from the dead.
There are also very very intensely creepy automatons, you know the ones. They are assorted steampunk type machines that have doll heads and missing limbs and they move in that way we used to think robots would move before we decided they need to move more like us. Yea, super creepy indeed, but creative and fun and I loved it.
The doomsday story is pretty good too, among the many we have seen through the years of storytelling it stands out with is unique twist on the idea. I won’t tell you what it is, but there is A CLOCK in the walls of the house, so its about time you figured it out…get it? Time? Well, just watch the movie and you’ll see.
I highly recommend this movie. I think I would even watch it again if I had the right bowl of popcorn and rainy afternoon to indulge. I would follow it up with some other haunted house adventure, Poltergeist perhaps, or with a touch of wackiness like Beetlejuice.
- Alternate Opening & Ending (6 Minutes) – With optional commentary by Jack Black and Eli Roth.
- Deleted Scenes (9 Minutes) – Eight different scenes again with commentary by Eli Roth.
- Gag Reel (4 Minutes) – Silly moments mostly involving Mr Black.
- Warlocks & Witches (10 Minutes) – A four part featurette looking at the main characters from the film.
- Movie Magic (10 Minutes) – A five part featurette that looks at the locations and visual effects.
- Tick Tock: Bringing The Book To Life (4 Minutes) – The movie is based on the book of the same name here we see how it was adapted to the big screen.
- Eli Roth: Directors Journals (8 Minutes) – A six part video diary by Eli Roth, I really loved this but it’s much too short.
- Owen Goes Behind The Scenes (4 Minutes) – Owen Vaccaro takes us around the set for some fun antics.
- Theme Song Challenge (3 Minutes) – Jack Black, Owen Vaccaro, Kyle MacLachlan and Lorenza Izzo make up a funny song.
- Do You Know Jack Black? (4 Minutes) – Q & A with Mr Black.
- Abracadabra (1 Minute) – Eli Roth performs a magic trick.
- Jack Blacks Greatest Fear (2 Minutes) – Owen Vaccaro and Eli Roth prank Jack Black on the set.
- The Mighty Wurlitzer (3 Minutes) – Composer Nathan Barr talks about the spooky organ used in the film.
- Audio Commentary
- 4KUHD, Blu-ray, & UV Digital Copy
Audio & Video: 9/10
The House With The Clock In It’s Walls was shot digitally in 4K and it’s journey to 4KUHD and Blu-ray is nothing but spectacular. Being a movie that is mostly set in a dark and grimy house the clarity and detail here is astounding. Skin tones are also natural and lifelike. There is a hint of noise from the camera itself but nothing that will effect your viewing experience.
Audio here is awesome from the opening scene with the clock ticks that go around you to the final showdown with the bad guy. Dolby Atmos is the codec used here so if you have the capable equipment you are in for a real treat.
Overall Score 7.5/10