Movie News & Reviews

Movie News & Reviews

Movie review: ‘The House with a Clock in Its Walls,’ Eli Roth’s spookfest, fun treat for tweens

Parents need to know that "The House with a Clock in Its Walls" is based on John Bellairs' same-named 1970s children's book. It marks the first younger-skewing spookfest from Hostel director Eli Roth, who considers this film a "starter horror movie" for families and tweens. But it's definitely a "know your kid" situation: The movie is very creepy, and there are a few scenes that are downright scary/jump-worthy for kids. There are scary toys/dolls, ominous sounds, a demon, witchcraft, necromancy, and the occult, but (spoiler alert!) the "good" witch and warlocks ultimately prevail against the forces of evil that are threatening them and the world. In one scene, a boy hurts kid protagonist Lewis (Owen Vaccaro), but later Lewis magically makes a basketball hit two bullies during a game. "Damn" and "hell" are used a couple of times, and several mild insults are traded by two adult friends (Jack Black and Cate Blanchett). A married couple kisses. Parents who enjoy horror movies will appreciate this introduction to the genre, but families with sensitive kids should think about whether they're up for even a "light" fright flick. Those who do watch will appreciate the movie's messages about teamwork, perseverance, friendship, and facing your fears.