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The House With the Clock in its Walls - Blu-ray Review and Details

The wizarding world is alive and well thanks to this throwback kid’s flick from director Eli Roth.  You might recognize the name.  Roth is auteur behind the Hostel series, Knock Knock, and Green Inferno.  He’s a horror film guru, thanks to his “love it or leave it” attitude toward his use of nudity and gore and yet, stepping out into kid friendly territory, he shows that he is comfortable in other genres, too.

The House with a Clock in Its Walls is a highly imaginative and FUN film that kids are sure to enjoy.  It might not be Roth’s best film, but this highly charged freak show – full of frightening dolls, animated arm chairs, and a witch who disguises herself as a young boy’s dead mother in order to gain his trust – has just enough mystery and practical effects to win over audiences.  Is it dark?  Yes.  Disturbing?  Sure. 

isn’t Roth’s best film, but it is his most imaginative, filling in the hole that Spielberg left when he “graduated” to making films for adults.

But with Goosebumps as its cinematic cousin (and frame) – having Jack Black in the cast helps – this film successfully leans back to the days of Amblin Entertainment.  Based on John Bellairs’ children’s book, the movie knows it can green screen its way through the story.  And the house at the center of the tale is dressed in great, practical effects; you would want to live here, too. {googleads}

Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) has a new home.  With his mother and his father dead, he arrives in New Zebedee, Michigan to live with his uncle in his creepy house of clocks.  Jonathan Barnavelt (Black) is not used to life with a boy hanging around and for good reason.  Jonathan is a warlock and, as Lewis is soon to find out, there is something wrong with his house.  But wait!  It turns out that Jonathan is not as alone as it seems.  His neighbor, also his best friend, Mrs. Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett) is just as kooky as he is.

With magic as their center, what Lewis embarks on is a spirited romp through the secrets in the house and, when navigating his school day of not making friends and just being weird knocks him on his heels, he begins to count on the creaks and the corners of the house to reveal themselves to him.  And what a story they have to tell, too. 

The House With the Clock in its Walls - Blu-ray Review and Details

Featuring performances from Kyle MacLachlan as an evil warlock and Renée Elise Goldsberry as his wife and witch, The House with a Clock in Its Walls wins thanks to its Tim Burton-like flair.  While definitely intense in a couple of scenes (especially for the younger ones in the audience), the film maintains a wondrous swagger thanks to a detailed set, great genre performances, and rapid-fire bits of magic sprinkled about.

The House with a Clock in its Walls isn’t Roth’s best film, but it is his most imaginative, filling in the hole that Spielberg left when he “graduated” to making films for adults.  This is a film that has Jack-o’-lantern characters, a magic 8-ball as a guide, AND a leaf-pooping topiary griffin (which doesn’t always work).  Its cast is fun and lively and, thanks to some strong practical effects (including a big clock gears sequence), the film proves to be a true throwback in its tone and in its feels. 

Expecto patronum who?

3 beers


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The House With the Clock in its Walls - Blu-ray Review and Details

MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements including sorcery, some action, scary images, rude humor and language.
105 mins
: Eli Roth
Eric Kripke
Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro
: Family | Fantasy
You're invited somewhere timeless.
Memorable Movie Quote: "There's a clock in the walls. We don't know what it does, except... something horrible."
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site: www.uphe.com/movies/the-house-with-a-clock-in-its-walls
Release Date:
September 21, 2018
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
December 18, 2018
Synopsis: A young orphan named Lewis Barnavelt aids his magical uncle in locating a clock with the power to bring about the end of the world.



[tab title="Blu-ray Review"]

The House With the Clock in its Walls - Blu-ray Review and Details


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Universal Studios
Available on Blu-ray
- December 18, 2018
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish
English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1; Spanish: DTS-HD HR 7.1; French: DTS-HD HR 7.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; Digital copy; Movies Anywhere; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Universal’s 1080p HD handling of this movie is fantastic! The images on the 1080p transfer using the AVC MPEG-4 codec are presented in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio of its original release and absolutely explode with a crispness that is pushed to the max. The tones are natural and amped up on saturation and dark tones. The dark tones are important and with this release they are dark and natural; effective in creating a sense of disturbing moodiness. The Blu-ray is presented in DTS-HD 7.1 lossless Master Audio and contains a good mix of levels for multiple channels requiring no tweaking from its audience in order for dialogue to be heard. Overall, a standout HD release.



  • Supplied by Eli Roth and Jack Black the commentary attached to this release is both fun and informative.

Special Features:

What’s not to love?!  This release delivers a lot of great supplemental information.  Fans get deleted scenes, an alternative opening and ending, gags from the hoot, multi-parted looks at the filming of the movie, and plenty of information about its score.  This release comes with a DVD copy, a digital copy, and an embossed cover.

  • Alternate Opening and Ending
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Warlocks and Witches
  • Movie Magic
  • Tick Tock: Bringing the Book to Life
  • Eli Roth: Director's Journals
  • Owen Goes Behind the Scenes
  • Theme Song Challenge
  • Do You Know Jack Black?
  • Abracadabra!
  • Jack Black's Greatest Fear
  • The Mighty Wurlitzer


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The House With the Clock in its Walls - Blu-ray Review and Details