Jack Black continues his streak of making great children’s action films with his infectious humor. As one of the leads of the film he and Cate Blanchett have some great chemistry. This is definitely where Jack shines as an actor and comedian. For family horror films this one is a win for Eli Roth as a director. For Roth who has done R rated horror, this is a great departure and a great vehicle for him to continue to explore. Pushing the boundaries of what can be a child’s horror film while still being creative. The usage of the older Universal and Amblin logos definitely helped the nostalgic feel that they were going for in a gothic horror film.
The production design and costuming is extremely well done. It’s very period appropriate and it has a lot of wonder to it. I feel all the pieces were there for the film to be extremely charming, the one thing I felt the film lacked was more whimsy to make it more endearing. The young boy was a great lead he had good chemistry with Jack Black. I felt their bond as characters over the course of the film.
There’s a clock in the walls. We don’t know what it does, except… something horrible.
The plot of the film did feel more complex than it needed to be. I liked the backstory that was involved between Jack Black and Kyle MacLachlan was interesting in how it incorporate the Grimm Brothers stories and historical events. Though the main plot the main character of Lewis had to go through felt very generic and obvious. I did appreciate how the character was designed with his quarks and learned to embrace them throughout the film. Kids always deal with bullying and have problems accepting themselves with others. I did appreciate the messages the film had about friendship and ownership of responsibilities that was executed.
The main fault I had with the film is that there was too much toilet humor that weighed the movie down. It needs less of that or at all. It doesn’t need that to appeal to a younger generation in order to work as a kids film. I thought there is a lot of potential for the future for this possible film series. I do think that this is worth a watch, if not in the theater at home would be just as fine. I would definitely agree it would be a good film to put in the Halloween cycle of all ages films.