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  • Writer's pictureJohn Boccellari




RELEASE DATE: September 21,2018

RUNNING TIME: 1 Hour 44 Minutes



WRITERS: Eric Kripke (screenplay), John Bellairs (based on novel by)


Jack Black as Jonathan Barnavelt

Cate Blanchett as Florence Zimmerman

Owen Vaccaro as Lewis Barnavelt

Kyle MacLachlan as Isaac Izard

Renee Elise Goldsberry as Selena Izard

Lorenza Izzo as Mother


My daughter was the one who raised my interest in seeing The House with a Clock in its Walls. I actually did not have much interest in seeing the film. We were watching TV one day and she noticed the commercial before I did. She asked me if we could see it and I was somewhat torn to do so. My daughter is only four years old and although the film is rated PG, I was not sure if it was appropriate for a child of her age based off of the commercial. I figured that she might find the movie a little too scary for her due to some of the scenes depicted in the trailer. Plus like I said earlier, I did not have any real interest to see it.

After my daughter's relentless begging, I caved and told her that we could go and see the movie. I was able to get tickets for the first showing on opening day at our local theater in the next town over. I figured that I could cover her eyes if the movie were to get too scary for her and I was curious on how she would react to the film.

To my surprise, she did not get too scared at all by the movie. Sure there were times that she jumped and let out a fun scream. But she really enjoyed the movie. I also found myself really enjoying the movie. I do not know why I had such a negative impression of the movie before I saw it. I like all of the actors that were in the film as I am a fan of all of them. I like comedy/adventure movies. But I cannot pinpoint the reason of the lack of interest that I had for this film at all. Maybe it was just being tired as this week we saw the birth of our second daughter. We had some sleepless nights. I do not think it had anything to do with the movie at all. Maybe it was the marketing. After seeing the movie, I felt that it could have been pushed much better on TV.

My daughter and I were only 2 out of 6 people sitting in the theater for the first show on opening night. I do not think that I was the only who had the "ehh" impression of the movie going into it. But once I saw the film, I really did enjoy it and felt that the movie did not receive the proper reception based on the experience that I had in my theater. Jack Black has had his bad films, but he has always given his all to make his roles work. He owned the character of Warlock Jonathan Barnavelt. Cate Blanchett was as always great in her role. The only issue with her character was that I was not sure of the age of her character. Was Florence Zimmerman an older woman? I asked this due to her gray hair. She seemed younger to me. Aside from that, I loved the character. It was pretty bad ass when she was able to get her powers to work again. This was the first time I had ever seen Owen Vaccaro. He played young Lewis Barnavelt, the nephew of Jack Black's Jonathon Barnavelt. Without this kid, I do not think this film would have worked so well. You really needed someone who could be "weird" as they put it in the film and quirky. This kid has a bright future in my opinion. Kyle MacLachlan was amazing as the villian Isaac Izard. The presence of the villian is just as important as the presence of the hero. If you do not have someone who can truly channel the role and make it great, you have nothing to really fear with the story. Isaac Izard was menacing and scary.

I also want to point out that when I see an Eli Roth movie, I usually expect violence and gore. The man is a great horror director. I will be honest as I was surprised to see him attached to this film as director. I do not mean to type cast him, I know that he has done other things besides horror. But he really did knock it out of the park with making a fun kids movie.

I give The House with a Clock in its Walls 4 out of 5 stars. The movie was fun. The story was fun. The actors looked like they all had a great time making it. More importantly, the film ended up being great for my daughter who also had a lot of fun watching it with me. If you have not seen the movie yet, please do. I bet you would have a lot of fun.

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