It seems young Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) lost his parents to a car accident in 1955 and with nowhere else to go Lewis was sent to his Uncle Jonathan (Jack Black) to live with in Michigan. What Lewis found when he moved there was a bit scary and bizarre along with Mrs. Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett) the neighbor. Florence is not the only neighbor close by, there’s Mrs. Hanchett and her pet across the street who constantly complains about the music coming from Jonathan’s home at three thirty in the morning.
Lewis wasn’t liked too much in school since he was the new kid on the block and with his goggles that he wears he tended to stand out and in gym was always the last boy picked for sports like basketball. I can relate! He did though make one friend, Tarby Corrigan (Sunny Suljic) who happened to be running for President at the school. As time went by Lewis discovered that the house is alive, there is a weird clock ticking in the walls that’s besides the other hundreds of clocks in the house and many other strange pieces, like the chair dog including the pumpkins and hedge cat outside but the biggest news is that Uncle Jonathan is a warlock. Once Lewis became knowledgeable about the house and all its strange happenings he too wanted to practice magic for himself and also wanting to impress Tarby. When Lewis takes a book that was off limits to anyone he and Tarby head to the cemetery to raise the dead but it just so happens that he raises Isaac Izard (Kyle MacLaclan) who was once a good friend of Jonathan’s and the previous evil owner of the house, who planted the ticking clock in the house walls and wanted to create doomsday on earth.
When Isaac walks again he returns to the house he once lived in to find his love Selena (Renee Elise Goldsberry) and bring doomsday to mankind like he once intended until his previous death. In a battle to save mankind between Jonathan, Florence and Lewis, Isaac knows he taught Jonathan everything Jonathan knows but not what Isaac knows. So Isaac figured he had the upper hand especially since he reunited with Selena against two black swans and a purple one. But did he?
I enjoyed this story which is truly set up for a sequel. It is well directed and pretty well written but I must say the ending battle seemed a bit light and forgettable because it is short and not as eventful as the rest of the story. Great effects, and some really funny moments especially with the hedge cat this film will excite children for sure and entertain adults but if you think too hard about the plot it leaves you a bit wanting more. Black is spot on with this role with both his humor and drama. Blanchett is a great counterpart to Black and MacLachlan who I haven’t seen in a while is also a good support to Black and lead man Vaccaro. I think we will be seeing much more of Vaccaro in the future. Overall a fun story with a lot of cool visuals to keep your eyes busy but I hope with the sequel if there is one the writers bring a bit more to the table from beginning to end.