[Movie Review] Monster House (2006) ★★★★☆

DJ, Jenny and Chowder spying on the

Monster House is a great haunted house movie for young fans of the scary and  imagination. 

Monster House is a computer animated motion capture scary movie for kids from the age of nine, with a monstrous house that comes to life during Halloween. It’s the perfect watch for children and to watch with the whole family. It’s a bit scary, it’s a thrilling adventure, it’s about friendship and bravery and things aren’t always what they appear to be. But although it’s a scary movie there’s a lot of humor, fun characters and events and the ending is even quite tragic, with a very sad background. Monster House has got the whole package and offers entertainment with laughs, frights and even some tears. 

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12 Year-old DJ lives across and old house that he spies upon with his telescope In that house lives a grumpy old man called Horace Nebbercracker and he doesn’t like kids and chases them off his lawn. When DJ and his best friend Chowder are playing outside, and Nebbercracker wants to chase them away, he suffers from a heart attack and is brought to the hospital. But then the real adventures and problems are about to start when they realize that the house is alive and eats people. With the help of girl scout Jenny they want to get to the bottom of it.

Why you should watch it

Monster House is great family fun. It’s a bit scary for the kids, but well-balanced out with humor, great characters and DJ and Chowder competing for Jenny’s attention. The film is packed with dynamic conversations, events and a scary mystery about the house. The animation is very dynamic as well and speaks to the imagination and is brought to life with motion capture. When the house comes to life, the scary part is about to begin. That can be quite scary indeed.

The animation also brings the characters to life, and they all form a playful bunch, like the cops who won’t believe them and gamer Skull who’s an expert in the paranormal and helps them. Of course they also encounter some resistance from DJ’s babysitter Zee and her annoying boyfriend Bones. Although they might be a bit cliché, it helps to make the story fun and understandable and the twist offers a turn in the story that isn’t at all a cliche, but very insightful for young children. 

Because it’s not all a fun adventure that is also scary, but it has a very tragic story that forms the backbone of the haunted house. It’s a story that might be somewhat complicated for young children, because it tells not a black-and-white tale about being wronged, or bullied, but has a rather grown-up take on trauma that isn’t necessarily the right way to handle things, but does ripple trough time and the lives of others, like a real ghost story. That part is a great asset to the story and makes it more than an average animation film for kids with laughs and frights. 

With a nice pace, great storytelling and solid structure, this animation has a lot of entrainment to offer for the whole family. 

My favorite part

When they go actually inside the house, the real scary part is about to begin and they have to help each other and be brave and that is cause for both some comical and scary scenes. But the ending is very well-made. It’s scary, it has a great twist, it’s about love and sacrifice and it’s also very moving and tragic. But it all ends well and with some wonderful flashbacks we get to learn what the house really is all about. 


Rating: ★★★★☆

Fun factor: ★★★★☆

Scare factor: ★★☆☆☆

Entertainment factor: ★★★★★

Cast and crew

Monsterhouse is directed by Gil Kenan and written by Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab. It stars Mitchell Musso (DJ Walters), Sam Lerner (Chowder), Spencer Locke (Jenny), Steve Buscemi (Horace Nebbercracker) and John Heder (Skull).

Duration: 91 minutes. Music: Douglas Pipes. Cinematography: Xavier Perez Grobet. Edited by: Fabienne Rawley, Adam P. Scott. Produced by: Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey. Production companies: Columbia Pictures, Relativity Media, ImageMovers, Amblin Entertainment. Distributed by: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment. 

Check the trailer below

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