Friday, October 24, 2008

Review Of MONSTER HOUSE By Frankie Franken

Hello, everybody! We've only got seven days left on The MonsterGrrls' 31 Days Of Halloween, and since the Mad Doctor's busy preparing a Halloween party at the Monster Shop, I'm posting on the Harbinger for Day 24! Today I'm reviewing a goofy haunted house movie called Monster House. This one is a computer-animated movie that just might be the first horror movie made for kids!

Monster House tells the story of D.J. Walters (Mitchell Musso), a pre-teen kid who is spying on the spooky old house across the street in his neighborhood, which is owned by the mean and hysterically angry Mr. Nebbercracker (Steve Buscemi). Nebbercracker, who constantly drives people away from the house and steals kids' toys that are left on the front lawn, finally has a heart attack after one explosive tantrum concerning a basketball that D.J. and his friend Chowder (Sam Lerner) are playing with, allowing D.J. to gain a mysterious gold key. Later, D.J. overhears his babysitter Zee (Maggie Gyllenhal) and her boyfriend Bones (Jason Lee) discussing the house and an often-repeated story that Mr. Nebbercracker did away with his wife. When D.J. and Chowder investigate, they discover that the house is actually alive, and tries to eat anyone who comes near it! It's up to D.J., Chowder, and their partner-in-investigation Jenny Bennet (Spencer Locke) to solve the mystery of Nebbercracker's old house and save their neighborhood.

This film is fast-moving and funny, and strangely enough, it's shot exactly like a horror movie, with plenty of long pauses and jump scares, which is very different for an animated film. Producers Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg and director Gil Kenan have animated this film using performance-capture technology, which was also used in the film The Polar Express. The resulting three-dimensional character construction makes for a thoroughly creepy but funny film-watching experience, though some of the scenes with the house may be a little too intense for very young kids. All in all, this film is a great choice for a Halloween family rental, so check it out!

Don't forget to come back tomorrow as we count down to Halloween!

Frankie Franken