Film Review: Monster House

Film: Monster House 

Director: Gil Kenan

Cast: Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Steve Buscemi and Spencer Locke

Rating: 2.5 / 5

A house that turns into a monster complete with windows for eyes, a carpet for tongue and wooden teeth, forms the eerie premise for Monster House. 

This one was especially looked forward to because of the coming together of Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis (The Polar Express, What Lies Beneath, Cast Away) as producers. 

Most animations target only children (Ant Bully, Ice Age) while some target both adults and kids (Shrek). Shrek worked on many levels: while the kids were happy watching the goofy donkey and Puss in Boots, the adults were laughing at the witty one –liners. Monster House is neither. Too shallow for adults and sometimes too scary for kids, this one’s entertaining but nowhere near the sophistication of a Shrek. 

Two neighborhood kids DJ (Mitchel Musso) and Chowder (Sam Lerner) discover that the strange and mysterious neighbored house is actually haunted. An old and unfriendly  Mr Nebbercracker (Steve Buscemi)stays in the house and the kids are scared enough to keep away. Until, one day, curiosity gets the better of them, and they realize that all’s not well with the house. And then comes redhead Jenny (Spencer Locke), twice school president, selling candy, who happens to knock on the door of Monster House, and DJ and Chowder, hopelessly infatuated, save her. 

The trio then tries to convince the adults including two cops (hilarious moments, here, though politically incorrect) of the house that comes to life, but no one believes them. And one day, as they experiment to put the house to sleep, they get swallowed up by the house. What happens next is the roller coaster ride to the end. 

The animation and CGI are truly spectacular with the style being less cartoon-like and more lifelike, as in The Polar Express (some shots will have you forget you’re watching an animation).

While kids are sure to enjoy the animation, the films does get a bit too dark at times. The voiceovers are good, but not the best. Humour is few and far between and dialogues are not particularly memorable. The characters strike one as clichéd – the trio, for instance, with one guy who finally triumphs as the hero, his chubby friend who’s clumsy, and the girl, the brightest of all, but still not the hero (think Harry Potter’s trio of friends). 

If you’re looking for an entertainer, with superb animation, that’ll whiz past before you know it, this is a good pick. Just don’t expect too much.

Sonia Chopra

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