So here we are with the latest kid-friendly horror/adventure movie from director…Eli Roth?!? Really?
I hope it’s better than the other Eli Roth movie I saw this year.
It’s the 1950s, and young Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) is a recently orphaned boy moving in with his eccentric uncle Jonathan (Jack Black). It turns out Jonathan, much like his next door neighbor Mrs. Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett), is a warlock, a practitioner of magic. It doesn’t take much effort to convince Jonathan to train Lewis in the mystical arts, but the house the two Barnavelts share has a clock hidden somewhere in the walls by a previous warlock owner, and now that the clock is about to strike one…well, something bad will happen. Can Lewis and the two adults stop the clock in time?
This one was a real treat. There’s some mature subtexts here given the time period and Lewis’ growing pains, but it should be fine for most kids. Black plays Jonathan with the comedic enthusiasm he uses in his better roles, and Blanchett, well, she’s her usual sharp, charming self. The plot is fairly good with a twist here and there, and it had enough jump scares to startle the kid sitting next to me a couple times. It’s not perfect, but it is fun. 8 out of 10 dictionary interests.