The House With A Clock In Its Walls 4K/Blu Ray Review (Universal)
The House with a Clock in Its Walls is a 2018 fantasy film directed by Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel 1/2, The Green Inferno, & Death Wish). It’s based on the 1973 novel from John Bellairs. A previous television adaptation was made in 1979 on CBS Library: Once Upon a Midnight Scary. It was written & produced by Eric Kripke (Supernatural, Timeless, Revolution, & Boogeyman). It was produced by Mark McNair (True Blood. Preacher, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, & Journey to the Center of the Earth) & Bradley J. Fischer (Suspiria, Zodiac, Basic, & Black Swan). The budget was $42 million & it grossed $131.5 million worldwide at the box office!!!!
After his parents are killed in a car crash, 10 year old Lewis Barnavelt (played by: Owen Vaccaro from Daddy’s Home 1/2, Mother’s Day, & Mine 9) moves to live with his uncle Jonathan (played by: Jack Black from King Kong, Tropic Thunder, The Cable Guy, Goosebumps 1/2, High Fidelity, & Shallow Hal). He soon meets Jonathan’s neighbor & best friend Florence Zimmerman (played by: Cate Blanchett from Thor: Ragnarok, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Lord of the Rings franchise, The Talented Mr. Ripley, & The Gift). Both seem a little odd & it seems like they are hiding something from him. In the middle of the night, Lewis sees Jonathan smashing a wall with an axe. He is worried about his new roommate until his uncle confesses to him that he is a warlock & Florence is a witch. The previous owners of the house were pure evil, Isaac Izard (played by: Kyle MacLachlan from Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, Dune, The Hidden, & The Doors) & his wife Selena (played by: Renée Elise Goldsberry from The Good Wife, Ally McBeal, & Pistol Whipped).
They hid a clock in the walls before they died & Jonathan is obsessed with finding it. Lewis is so desperate to impress popular kid Tarby Corrigan (played by: Sunny Suljic from Mid90s & The Killing of a Sacred Deer) that he breaks his uncle’s one rule. He performs a necromancy spell in a cemetery & accidentally resurrects Isaac. He has visions of his late mother (played by: Lorenza Izzo from The Green Inferno, Life Itself, Knock Knock, & Feed the Beast). He tries to warn their neighbor Mrs. Hanchett (played by: Colleen Camp from Die Hard / Die Hard with a Vengeance,, Wayne’s World, Police Academy 2/4, & Death Game) about the disaster about to take over their world. Florence Zimmerman is scared to use her magic, Jonathan always runs away from things, & Lewis has no experience. Can they stop the sinister & powerful Isaac from executing his deadly plans????
The House with a Clock in Its Walls has top notch visual & special effects. All the monsters, dolls, robots, & villains looked amazing in this. The main location for this which is the house is high level production design. It’s one of the best looking fantasy & children films in a long time. I am actually a little surprised how well horror director Eli Roth pulled this off. You couldn’t tell that he came from a extreme horror background with some really gruesome films from his previous work. I guess it rubbed off some because it does have a few darker moments & various creepy visuals for the feature but it’s very kid friendly. Owen Vaccaro, Cate Blanchett, & Kyle MacLachlan were the standout performances from the solid cast. Jack Black is….Jack Black, you know exactly what to expect from him in this. This film fits his recent material that he’s been doing which include the two Goosebumps movies. The House with a Clock in Its Walls works for all ages, it’s fun & full of entertainment. Excellent visual style & cinematography, RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Universal! This 2160p (2.39:1) transfer looks amazing in 4K! As far as visual style & atmosphere, The House with a Clock in Its Walls has everything going for it. This is one of the best looking releases for 2019 so far. It has 4 different audio options which include English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Spanish: DTS-HD HR 7.1, & French: DTS-HD HR 7.1 on this UHD. All the witchery, dialogue, & music has a killer boost to them with these tracks. It also has English SDH, French, & Spanish subtitles. Both picture & sound on this release are it’s highest quality!!!!
Let’s discuss the special features on this release! It has an “Audio Commentary” with director Eli Roth & lead actor Jack Black. They talk about the old school Universal logo. They bring up Amblin & their memories of ET plus other productions later on. Jack Black chats about touring with his band. They mention the cast & crew for this. They go through the characters & various situations for this. Eli Roth talks about this being his first family film & jokes about all his other violent features before this. They say no one listens to the commentaries besides the film reviewers which I thought was hilarious. Eli Roth says Time Bandits was a major influence on this film. Jack Black made a bet with Cate Blanchett on the set about Monopoly. He tells the story about it here. They have great chemistry & it’s a real fun track to listen to. “Alternate Opening and Ending” with optional audio commentary with director Eli Roth & lead actor Jack Black. 9 “Deleted Scenes” that run over a little over 9 minutes with optional audio commentary with director Eli Roth & lead actor Jack Black. “Gag Reel” is a little over 3 minutes, it has various funny outtakes from the production. These are all available on the 4K disc, the rest of the extras are located on the blu ray. “Warlocks and Witches” is almost 10 minutes. It’s broken down into 4 different segments which include Finding Lewis, Jack’s Magical Journey, The Great Cate, & The Terrifying Eddie Izard. It has interviews with director Eli Roth, actors Jack Black, Owen Vaccaro, Cate Blanchett, Renée Elise Goldsberry, & Kyle MacLachlan. They talk about the cast & the characters from the film. They bring up their experience on it & working with each other for it. It has a variety of behind the scenes footage. “Movie Magic” is almost 10 minutes. It has interviews with director Eli Roth, actors Jack Black, Owen Vaccaro, Cate Blanchett, & various crew members. It’s broken down into 5 different segments which include The Ultimate Haunted House, Automatons Attack, Pumpkin Puke, Moving Pieces & Baby Jack. It shows various sets from the movie. It goes into detail about the production design for it. It shows some of the visual & special effects, they chat about it. Eli Roth gives a tour of the house. They chat about using some of Steven Spielberg’s personal collection for some of the creepy dolls & robots sequences. It has all kinds of behind the scenes footage.
“Tick Tock: Bringing the Book to Life” is a little over 3 minutes. It has interviews with Eli Roth, writer Eric Kripke, actors Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, & various producers. They chat about the original source material. They talk about Amblin being interested in this project right away. Eric Kripke mentions getting the opportunity to do anything that he wanted & he picked this since the author is a hero to him. “Eli Roth: Director’s Journals” is a little over 7 minutes. It’s broken down into 6 different segments which include Candler Mansion, Newnan GA, The Chair, Comrade Ivan, New Zebedee Elementary, & Wrap Day. It’s a video diary from the filmmaker. It covers various different shoots on the production. Eli said they played lots of music during filming so everyone could have fun with it. It shows the director getting ready for his cameo in the feature. It has the wrap day where everyone finishes & says their goodbyes. “Owen Goes Behind the Scenes” is a little over 4 minutes. It’s broken down into 4 different segments which include Around the Set, Behind the Camera, The Big Interview, & Downtime on the Set. He interviews various cast & crew members. He takes you behind the scenes. He gives a little tour of the house. It shows the kids doing homework. It has a variety of fun moments on the set. “Theme Song Challenge” is almost 3 minutes. Director Eli Roth, actors Jack Black, Owen Vaccaro, Kyle MacLachlan, & Lorenza Izzo try to do a few different songs for the film. It’s hilarious & also it’s a little painful to listen to. “Do You Know Jack Black?” is a little over 4 minutes. “Abracadabra!” is a little over a minute. Eli Roth shows Owen Vaccaro a magic trick. “Jack Black’s Greatest Fear” is a little over a minute. Eli Roth & Owen Vaccaro play a prank on Jack Black with a goat. “The Mighty Wurlitzer” is a little over 2 minutes with composer Nathan Barr showing you a organ from the late 1920s that he restored & used for the score. He brings up some of the films it was used on & the unique quality it brings to the feature. Eli Roth brings up that it hasn’t been used in 25 years for a movie. It also has a slipcover, digital code, & a blu ray copy of the release. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!