First off, I would like to apologize for the delay of this review. I have been busy in the past week and have been feeling a bit burned out by keeping with my reviews schedule. I’m rethinking my reviews schedule, so past movie reviews like Retro Friday and My First Time reviews have been put on temporary hiatus until December. I’ll go more into it in next episode’s Talking Film. Now with that said, let’s start the review.
Get ready for a scary good time with the horror comedy ‘Monster House’, directed by Gil Kenan.
The film is about a house that is a monster. But going more in depth and joking aside, the film follows three kids who have each encountered Mr. Nebbercracker’s house which bears a nightmare fueled appearance. Although, Mr. Nebbercracker is very protective of his lawn and his house that anything that goes on his lawn is his to keep as he is an angry old man who seems to hate people who spy or go on his private property. So the three kids team up and strike at the house’s heart, and without spoiling anything, things go from bad to worse in this tension filled animated flick.
While the animation may seem outdated, looking more like stop motion animation. However for a 2005 film that features humans as the main characters the animation looks pretty good for the time, as there were only a few CGI films that feature human characters as the main protagonists like ‘Shrek’, ‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘The Incredibles’ to just name a few. Although, it is surprising that an animated movie that relies on motion capture is actually the most enjoyable out of the genre, as other motion capture animated films left a lot to be desired such as ‘The Polar Express’ as an example.
What makes this film one of the rare few that works is because of its sharp writing, filled with dark humour and excellent direction that makes this film more like a horror thriller, and it works as this film scared me as a kid, and while it isn’t much so now grown up, it is still enjoyable and leaves a lot of the audience to piece the clues together that will surprise most in its third act. The characters are interesting and you are invested to see how they can kill this evil house. And the design on the house is impressive, transforming an old wooden house into a vicious monster. I love how the film opens with scary orientated music and cuts to a colourful scene to a girl who rides on her tricycle singing along, but when one of her wheels gets stuck on Mr. Nebbercracker’s front lawn, the film’s colour and tone gets much darker. However, the film shows its artistry to the extreme with shots of the house creeping into DJ’s room during his dream, long sweeping shots of DJ holding on to the crane as he moves in and out of shot while towering over the monster house, and the opening scene which involves the character of Mr. Nebbercracker which is terrifying for a kid to watch.
‘Monster House’ is one of the best motion capture animated films I have ever seen, with brilliant writing, clever humour, interesting characters, and skilfully executed directing, ‘Monster House’ is a horror film that both kids and adults can enjoy.