Archive: Monster House (2006) Review

A nice slow easy start to the week with a kids movie I think.  This one is a great haunted house story with a twist and a great script.

Certificate: PG

Director: Gil Kenan

Screenwriter: Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab

Starring: Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke

Genre: Animation, Comedy

Runtime: 91 Minutes

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

Little DJ has suspicions about the house across the street and the cranky old man who lives there. When the old man has a heart attack and is carried away by an ambulance, DJ thinks the danger is over. Unfortunately, as he, his friend Chowder, and a candy-selling prep-school girl named Jenny discover, the house itself has plans–plans that include eating all the kids who’ll be trick-or-treating that Halloween night! – From IMDB

So you probably couldn’t count how many haunted house stories there are out there.  But this one is a little different.  Rather than being haunted by ghosts and the usual, here the actual house is alive.  Am interesting twist on the normal narrative.  The story behind the haunted house is great and overall the whole plot for this film is great.  It does take a while to find it’s feet though with nothing really ‘spooky’ happening for a good half an hour.  Things are implied, but we don’t actually see the house in action for a good long while.  You are rewarded for your patience through and it is worth hanging around for.

The dialogue here is great to, and all the interactions between the characters are great.  At least that is true of the children.  All of the adult characters seem to be stereotypes of themselves.  The mum is CRAZY overprotective, the evil babysitter verges on abusive at times and the old man that lives over the road is cantankerous to the extreme.  We get his whole back story, which is actually really sad and probably a lot more emotionally complicated than younger kids will really understand.  Even the police officers that come to the house are a laughable mockery of how cops should be. I guess if we are meant to be seeing the adult characters through the lens of the kids, then this may well be how they see all of these characters, but there wasn’t really one ‘normal’ adult in the bunch.

By todays standards, the animation is definitely lacking.  It is a peculiar style, and similar to the kind of animation used in ‘The Polar Express.’  It almost looks stop motion style, but a lot smoother and slightly more realistic.  This animation probably looked awesome fourteen years ago but compared to things like Monsters Inc that we have today, it lacks a lot.

If your kids are bored during the summer and you need a movie for the whole family to sit and enjoy, this one will definitely do the job.  It is entertaining and has a great story behind it, just certain aspects of it haven’t aged too great.  If you want to check it out, ‘Monster House’ is streaming now on Netflix.

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