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The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018)

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

Movie Name: The House with a clock in Its Walls

Directed: Eli Roth

Producers: Bradley J. Fischer, James Vanderbilt and Eric Kripke

Actors: Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sunny Suljic, and Kyle MacLachlan

Release Date: September 21, 2018

Budget: $42 million

Box Office: $130.6 million


There was not much on TV during the holidays. Every movie that was playing on TV, I had seen hundreds of times.

When looking for a movie on Netflix and Prime Video, we did not see anything that we liked. Then on my XBOX I saw that this movie was for rent. It looked like the best option so my wife and I decided to watch it.


You are introduced to the character of Lewis Barnavelt (played by Owen Vaccaro). You learn that his parents die in a car crash and he is sent to live with his next of kin, his uncle Jonathan (played by Jack Black) and his significant other Florence Zimmerman (played by Cate Blanchett).

Lewis realizes pretty quickly that the house is a little weird. We also learn that his uncle Jonathan is a Warlock and Florence is a witch.

I do not want to get too much into the story as I do not want to spoil the movie. However, as you can tell from the movie title, there is a clock in the house that keeps ticking. The ticking is making Jonathan crazy and he is adamant that he finds this clock.

Part of the story that is interesting are the struggles of Lewis trying to find a place in the world, where his mother is not there anymore and he feels lonely at school.

The rest of the movie is basically the adventures by Jonathan, Lewis and Florence trying to deal with this clock.

The House with a Clock in Its Walls Trailer 1

The House with a Clock in Its Walls Trailer 2


The movie is based on the kids novel of the same name. The author is John Bellairs. However, I never read the books myself, so I will not be able to compare with the books.

Let us start with the positives. The CGI for this movie is pretty good. However, nowadays that is nothing new but it is nice to see. This could also have been good if the CG would have been replaced by stop animation like in the old days. I find that sometimes CGI can take away from the warmth of a movie. I guess I am old fashion like that.

The actors do a good job in my opinion. Jack Black as usual is always on his game in every scene that he is in. I really find him to be an underrated actor. He was great in the new Jumanji movie and he is good here. Cate Blanchett plays a good role as well. Although I found her character to be a little robotic at times, I do not think that it was the actress that was the issue but this was a limitation of the actual character that she was playing. Lewis is a good character and he has some good moments.

I feel like there are parts in the book that are not in the movie. The back story is limited. I think adding some background would have helped. I would have liked to learn more about Lewis's mother for example. You do learn about what happened with the house but I feel they only bring it up what is necessary for the movie to advance.

With every movie, I ask myself, if I remove these actors, would the movie be any good? The answer is no. I think the casting was well done. The story was already written but the actors and actresses are what makes the story come to life. Jack Black is awesome in this and I hope that he continues to make movies for a very long time. I think the kid though, could have been played by someone else.

The story although not horrible, is just another fantasy movie based on a book. There is not as much depth here as in Harry Potter for example. The movie was ok but it was not a standout in my opinion.

The verdict is that it is an average fantasy movie with some good actors, sprinkled with some good parts. If you see this on Netflix or Prime, and you have a kid, I would say watch it. Although do not expect this to be an Oscar winner.

Rating: 3.5 clocks out of 5

What did you think of the movie? Let us know below.

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