Both Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis are behind the production of this horror-lite computer animation and the diagnosis is rather good. ‘Monster House’ centres on a couple of pubescent boys – 12-year-old DJ and his chubby pal Chowder – and their fixation with the creepy goings-on at the house across the street. Why is cantankerous old Nebbercracker so aggressively protective of his land, and what ever became of his rotund wife? With the aid of a quick-thinking girlfriend, the youngsters set out to solve the creepy conundrum in typically innocent childhood fashion. Elements of ‘Rear Window’ are evident in the scenario, while the script is both cleverly structured and, for a kids’ film, surprisingly coherent. It’s also very funny, exciting, often scary, imaginatively characterised and graced with some decent voice-overs, especially that of Steve Buscemi’s old man. In the pantheon of CGI films, it’s one of the most adult-orientated animations yet. I don’t need to tell you that the kids in the screening were enamoured from start to finish.
Friday August 11 2006
Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab, Pamela Pettler