Thursday, August 1, 2013

Monster House (2006) Review:

If there's one thing that's difficult to do in the horror genre, it's to make a scary PG film. Yet, the one that takes place here accomplishes that beautifully. The question is, what elements are the actually key components that help make it so effective - of course that will be covered. For a viewer though, it's just amazing how undeniably interesting the story is to this film. There are a couple of things that I feel needed to be brought up because it doesn't fit but on the whole, it makes up for some good creepy scares.

The kids vs one creepy house....
Written by Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab and even Pamela Pettler, screenwriter of Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005) & 9 (2009) (for good measure I'm sure) found a way to make this story really stand out on its own. The plot revolves around how a group of ordinary kids figure out that a house in the neighborhood is living on its own, literally. And it's no friendly house either, no, no, no, no. This house is by far from being homey, inside and out. What makes the story even more intriguing is how the owner of the house is just as scary looking as the house itself.

The voice acting to the film was done proficiently as well. All the voices matched their characters respectively. The character most viewers will enjoy is Chowder and his ability to be so fickle in his decisions and his kid-like playfulness. However, the character I found the most likeable was Mr. Nebbercracker (Steve Buscemi). Buscemi's ability to make Nebbercracker be so crotchety and soft at different times is remarkable. It's like he was playing a totally different character. Surprisingly though, this is where I found a flaw - character design & charm.

Mr. Nebbercracker (Steve Buscemi)
I'm not saying the animation was done badly. By no means - the animation is done well for Sony's first animated feature. It's weird too, because the characters do look computer generated, yet they have this clayish texture to them, a claymation picture like Gumby: The Movie (1995). Back to character design and charm. I'm not sure if it's because the plot revolved around kids but none of these child characters grew on me. To me, they just don't make a very memorable group and unfortunately I can't explain why. It's expected though that many people will enjoy Chowder's performance though, he was the comedy relief of the film, no doubt.

But, if there's one thing that'll make viewers skin crawl, it'll be the imagery and musical score provided by Douglas Pipes. Again, for a PG film, this is fairly dark. Not only is the Buscemi's character, Nebbercracker, freakishly thin, but so is the external and internal look of his house. If rickety old wood and dirty windows make you cringe, this house will creep you out. Even various characters will be eaten alive (which is in the trailer so that's no spoiler)! I do question what happens to them though, that's never all.

Let's not forget Mr. Pipes’ music. This is what really makes this a creepy movie. Pipes not only has a main theme but he also has motif themes for Mr. Nebbercracker and his house. It's basically a light tread on the piano keys and a wipe of the harp strings, but boy oh boy does it create the chills. Not only that, but it also gives the character some real feeling because it shows what kind of person that he is. I will admit, it is not effective all the time for example in an action scene, but it still makes itself known throughout the movie which is important. If you want something new to see, this is a film for that.

Its characters may not be the most memorable, but its covered by some creepy music, unique animation and good voice-acting.

Points Earned --> 8:10

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