<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>


Directed by Eli Roth. Starring Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro, Kyle MacLachlan, Renee Elise Goldsberry

Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes


Slow and devoid of any magic or fun, The House With A Clock In Its Walls is one of the drabbest films I’ve ever seen in my life.


Set in the 1950s, we’re introduced to a cute little boy named Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) who has recently been orphaned and is entrusted to his uncle Jonathan Barnavelt (Jack Black), magician and warlock. His house is full of clocks ticking away, a strange stained glass mural that changes like a screensaver and another clock hidden in its walls. Jonathan’s neighbour Mrs Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett) decked in cliché purple is helping him out to find the elusive ‘clock in the wall’, for some reason I don’t really remember now.

Half of the film is spent with little Lewis adjusting to his new home and school while Jonathan and his ‘plutonic’ neighbour friend scurry through basement spaces and break supporting beams. No real story develops and neither does anything reach a satisfying conclusion. Jonathan’s warlock best friend Isaac Izard (Kyle MacLachlan) died the previous year while performing a dark spell. But we pretty much know he’s going to be back in time to execute some evil world destruction plan.


I didn’t laugh once during the vapid dialogue. Even all the charm of Cate Blanchett and silliness of Jack Black cannot save a terrible script, pathetically dull writing and a plodding story. Owen Vaccaro is cute but lacks any emotional depth or interest value, which may be the director’s fault more than his.

The House With A Clock In Its Walls is one of those ‘fantasy’ stories based on a book (by John Bellairs) that will never float up to Harry Potter level. I cannot tell you how totally bored I was sitting through this film as every second of every one of those clocks ticked away time in my life I’d never get back!

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