Last weekend I took my son to see The House with a Clock in its Walls, the new Jack Black and Cate Blanchett horror/comedy (horromedy?) with a PG rating from noted horror gore-fest director Eli Roth. Roth is known for such films as Cabin Fever, Hostel, Hostel 2, and The Green Inferno… none of which I’d recommend for casual viewers or anyone with a weak stomach. Knowing Roth’s history, it was surprising to see him at the helm of what was basically a kid’s Halloween film. Overall, I liked this movie and so did my 8 y/o son. It was fun, a little goofy, slightly scary for little ones, very, very cheesy, and kind of predictable. But… it was fun. I’m not a movie purist. I go to the theater to be entertained and this movie did that for most of two hours. If you or your kids are easily jump scared or turned off by pumpkin guts then this is not the film for you, but for the rest of us it fits the bill for a fun Saturday afternoon diversion.
As always, I went in looking for overt Christian themes. I didn’t find a whole lot. There were some nice (well worn) ideas about the value of family, overcoming grief and loss, and good triumphing over evil. But there weren’t any particularly Christian ideas to work with here. The most emotionally moving part of the film had to do with the three main characters finding a way to overcome the tragedies of their past and unite together to win the day. While this is a positive value and a nice idea, there is no specific dependence on God or Christ or faith in overcoming the specific demonic evil in this flick, and that’s just a little disconcerting. Of course, I don’t expect Hollywood to make Christian movies, but it would be nice if just once in a while people had to depend on the supernatural aspects of faith and/or God to overcome the supernatural aspects of evil.
But look, if you’re looking for a few chuckles and a mystery/adventure romp, this is a decent one of those. Jack Black is probably the best comedic actor out there today and he’s in fine form in this movie. It’s worth a look if you’re into this kind of film.
Get the medium popcorn and save me a seat!