|Ratings||UK: 12A, USA: PG, Germany: 6,|
|Source of story||A 1973 novel of the same name by John Bellairs|
|Starring||Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro, Kyle MacLachlan, Lorenza Izzo,|
|Ratings||IMDb: 6.1 by 45,254 people. Rotten Tomatoes: 66% by 209 critics.|
Elevator Pitch: Lewis Barnavelt is orphaned when his parents are killed in a car crash, so travels to New Zebedee to live with his Uncle Jonathan in a house which seems to be magic. When in bed he is persuaded by an image of his mother to unlock a forbidden cabinet and extract a book with which he can raise the dead. Using the spells in the book Lewis raises the body of Isaac who used to be Jonathan’s partner. Isaac has suffered from terrible experiences in the war and as a result is recruited by a demon to end the world as we know it, using the clock, hidden in the house. As the final count down takes place, Jonathan, his friend Mrs Zimmerman and Lewis battle to negate the spell.
Content: No nudity or sex, or drinking or smoking. Despite the fairly light tone of the movie there are subjects which could frighten children, including demons, animated mechanica and raising people from the dead. The house itself is full of tricky stuff, and tatty chair which acts like a dog, accesses to strange rooms and a lot of clocks. Lewis also has the usual new boy problems at school apparently making friends with a girl by the end.
A View: This movie seems to have made money, mainly because of its quite moderate budget, this despite mixed reviews. Jack Black reprised his role from… well, nearly everything he has been in recently but Cate Blanchett did well, I thought. The two were complimented on their chemistry, A non-sexual friendship between a man and a woman. I have a job to determine its target audience, if it is 10 year olds they might be frightened by some of the content, but a watch if you like quirky stuff.
Additional Info: This is Eli Roth’s first non R rated film. It also featured his Ex Lorenza Izzo, and the writer Eric Kripke fashioned the TV series Supernatural.