This Jack Black feature has an all-around star studded crew helping it succeed. Black and co-star Cate Blanchett are led by Eli Roth in a comedic and suspense filled thriller.
Roth is better known for producing much more adult oriented horror, but he’s adapted well to the more juvenile “entry level horror” presented here.
The story follows recently orphaned Lewis, played by child comedic star Owen Vaccaro, as he’s shipped off to live with his uncle. It’s a coming of age story as the boy suffers with adapting, making new friends and coming to terms with his life and loss.
He makes mistakes and redeems himself over and over, but he’s not the only character with growth. Both Black and Blanchett’s characters are also flawed and evolving; they overcome their own shortcomings to unite and win the day.
The humor errs on the side of slapstick, but there are still some clever and redeeming one liners and bits. Black and Blanchett play wonderfully off each other, unfortunately over shadowing Lewis and the main plot of the film.
The plot has a lot of wasted potential.
It centers around, unsurprisingly, a clock in the walls, but the struggles and progress that should intertwine with Lewis’ coming of age are kept almost entirely separate except for the required and predictable disaster he brings about.
The horror level is well managed. There was a lot of concern through the trailers that the movie would end up being too scary for a large part of the intended audience, cutting box office sales.
However, as of Wednesday, it’s currently leading the way with first weekend sales of over 26 million, firmly securing it as a success. Although there are some slightly creepy parts, parents shouldn’t be too worried. If they can see any other Jack Black movie they should be fine with this one.
Ultimately, the movie could be used by elementary education teachers as
part of a project, and creative writing students could use it as an excellent example of how to write a comedy and thriller.
Overall, it might just be movie of the year. It’s solidly entertaining and, shockingly, establishes itself as a shining example of how to mix horror and comedy.