Monster House Review
Just across the road lies the Monster House, where trees are bare and no-one dares approach. Inside the house lives an old hermit, Mr Nebbercracker (Steve Buscemi) who in the opening scene terrorises a little girl and smashes up her tricycle.
Watching this are twelve-year-olds DJ (Michael Musso), Chowder (Sam Lerner) and Jenny (Spencer Locke) who decide to confront the old man. But the three kids haven’t reckoned with the house itself, which has a few supernatural tricks of its own…
Monster House is a horror film for kids, who should – except the very youngest and most sensitive – find it fun rather than excessively scary. While it’s by no means as obnoxious as many children’s films that Hollywood comes up with it probably is more suited for a younger audience who are likely to find the script’s occasional rude words funny rather than wearing. Director Gil Lenan has fallen for the adult trend of incessant noise and shock cuts instead of attempting to build an atmosphere. Having said that, adults will more likely appreciate the well-cast adult voices (particularly Steve Buscemi’s as Mr Nebbercracker) and the quality of the animation. Originally intended as a live-action feature, Monster House uses the motion-capture technology that Robert Zemeckis utilised on Polar Express. The results are frequently stunning – check out the leaves in the opening sequence. The “human” characters are a little doll-like, but it’s hard to say if that’s due to the process or is a deliberate stylistic decision.
There are better films out there than Monster House but you could do far worse as well. The children at the screening I attended gave this a middling reaction as befitting a good-looking but ultimately middling film.
Note: Certain cinemas are showing Monster House in 3D. The above review is based on a “flat” screening.