Based on a children’s book of the same name, The House with the Clock in its Walls (written by John Bellairs) will delight the younger audiences with magic and fright.
After the death of his parents, Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) is sent to Michigan to live with his uncle Jonathan (Jack Black) who is a warlock, and lives in a house with a mysterious clock in its walls. As the young Lewis is learning to cope with his own tragedy, he must find his own power as well as the power of true friendship.
Jonathan’s best friend and warlock, Isaac Izzard (Kyle MacLachlan) returns from World War II a changed man. He’s evil and is bent on ending the world. When his plans go awry and he dies, he must return from the dead with a little unwitting help from Lewis in order to complete his master plan. Now it’s up to the non-warlock Lewis to find his magic and save the day.
The house is a magical place. One any child would love to be a part of, from a lion topiary which acts like a mischievous house cat to a dirty old recliner which acts like a dog. The picture frames play Lewis’ favorite television shows and the stained glass window predicts the future.
Jack Black plays his character much like he plays most of his other characters, over the top and a little too much like himself. However, Cate Blanchett as Mrs. Zimmerman, a friendly witch who lives next door, is amazing. The quips fly fast and furious between the two as the one up each other with silly name-calling.
Owen Vaccaro is a fun fresh face who has been in Daddy’s Home and the sequel most notably but he’s a young actor we will see more of in the future. He plays Lewis with a nerdy and needy bent which delights viewers.
The House with the Clock in its Walls is sure to delight audiences even though the ending is a bit forced. Fans of the children’s book will enjoy seeing a favorite come to life. For Michigan fans though, this movie has a special honor since the author wrote about his hometown of Marshall, Michigan and used places such as the Cronin Mansion as a basis for his books.
While some of the scenes could prove frightening to younger audiences, the mix of laughter and silliness as well as a happy ending will dispel some of the frights. Just be sure to know your child since even the doll scene could upset some adults. Maybe your children can cover your eyes!
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