DCA Archive

The House with a Clock in Its Walls

Eli Roth

Director Eli Roth may not have any previous encounters with family-friendly fare in his directing career to date, but he certainly applies all he has learnt from the horror genre in this supremely spooky and suitably edge-of-your-seat adventure for a younger audience. Tapping into the universal interest in parallel worlds of magic and fantasy, Roth has crafted a film based on the 1973 novel by John Bellairs, featuring witches, warlocks and a creaky old house full of dark secrets.

 “The ideal holiday ghost story to get you in the mood for Halloween.”

Set in 1953, the story starts with recently-orphaned ten-year-old Lewis Barnavelt arriving at the spooky old mansion belonging to his uncle Jonathan. Discovering his uncle’s somewhat haphazard skills as a kimono-wearing warlock (and the far more talented white witch who lives next door), Lewis also learns the history of his new home, and the mystery surrounding the ticking clock hidden somewhere within its walls. After learning some first steps in magic from his uncle, Lewis has a go at making friends by demonstrating his new talents – but only succeeds in releasing a sorceress from her grave and an accompanying horde of fantastical creatures who set about wreaking destruction on the town…

Starring Jack Black as Uncle Jonathan and Cate Blanchett as neighbouring witch Florence Zimmerman, this is a spectacular addition to the post-Harry Potter canon. With great characters and some top of the range visual effects, this is the ideal holiday ghost story to get you in the mood for Halloween and all that it brings. Though hopefully not those evil, teeth-gnashing pumpkins.