Bravo for making a genuinely scary kids movie. Monster House doesn’t shy away from its material. It is about a monster house and that house is more intense than the shark from Jaws.
Monster House Movie Review
It begins with an adorable girl with pigtails getting terrorized by a creepy old man. Then our heroes accidentally cause the old fogey to have a heart attack by trespassing on his lawn. After the ambulance takes him away, their problems are only beginning as they witness his house devour their babysitter’s boyfriend. It is up to our two young lads and a candy salesgirl they recruit to save everyone from the monster house.
The scares are big, bold and loud. A shadow hand spanking the kid’s bed and big, loud chomping teeth are sure to give your kids nightmare. Like the best movie monsters, the monster house has a real tragedy at the heart of its backstory. There’s a genuine surprise twist in the reveal.
It’s hilarious because the kids deal with real problems. Their evil, manipulative babysitter and her boyfriend require them to be more mature than their supervision. Their parents create normal distractions and young love hits them as they’re both entering puberty. There are borderline sex jokes if you read between the lines.
The story moves like a classic thriller. The limits are set. It’s between the kids’ house and the scary house across the street. The monster house has its methods for attracting victims, and it turns normal when any adult comes by. The kids have to work within those confines to defeat the monster, and they come up with some clever plans.
The motion capture technique still doesn’t make the motion look real. It’s actually more stiff and exaggerated, almost like stop motion clay, only Nightmare Before Christmas still looks smooth. But for this movie, it works, because the whole aesthetic is weird.
Most of the name actors perform completely unique characters, though you can’t help but know Kathleen Turner’s voice. John Heder is still doing Napoleon Dynamite, which at this point is kind of troubling.
Monster House is a great surprise. It’s too bad they decided to release it in the crowded summer. Kids would have eaten up a safely scary movie around October. Maybe it’ll be on DVD by then.