The Movie Binge

Review: Monster House


It figures that the best movie I see all summer is a kid flick. Monster House made me wish I was ten years old again, so I could derive a few extra drops of pleasure from its animation, scares and laughs.

To sum up, a crabby old man by the name of Nebbercracker, terrorizes neighborhood children from his front lawn, stealing whatever lands on his property. DJ, from across the street has an obsession with the bug that's up the old man's ass. It distracts him from the turmoil of puberty, the "hair down there" syndrome. When he and his friend Chowder cause old man to have one conniption too many, he short circuits and goes to a big white building with doctors in it. The house, during old man's absence, assumes a malign life of its own. Shenanigans.

Oh, and it was scary. Children under seven or eight years of age will probably be freaked out by the gnashing of teeth, skeletons and fever dream in the beginning of the film. There were a few just under five in the theater I was in, don't know what the fuck their parents were thinking.

I think this movie is notable for a couple of reasons. It marks the first time for me that I've seen an honest to god animated hipster, Maggie Gyllenhaal as Zee. It's all there people, asymetrical bangs, surly self-interest, devotion to an obscure band, strategically placed rips in her clothing, wouldn't let me sniff her's all there folks.

Most of the comic relief comes from Chowder, who can't help but be based somewhat on Chunk from Goonies. I'm thinking the producers gave him the movie for research and just nodded and winked. This is not to their detriment at all, Chowder is the emphatically entertaining element to DJ's neurotic earnestness. Jenny, the prep-school member of the tween trifecta, is whipsmart and beguiling as well as on her way to one of the seven sisters.

Look for John Heder as Skull. I want to play Thou Art Dead.

In summation, Monster House was entertaining, really. There were laughs and there were chills, and a nice little lesson about not judging a book by its cover.

P.S. Have you seen the headshots for the 15 year olds in this film? Check it out on imdb. Now that's creepy.