Horror, more than any other genre, has the ability to manifest its power in many different forms. This stems first and foremost from the fact horror is primarily an emotional and visceral genre, whereas science fiction, say, might have more of a cerebral background.
Because this is true for horror we often find stories that work on many different levels: poignant, evocative, and fundamentally human. When these stories find their way to film, and when everything clicks from characterization to script, we have a real gem on our hands.
Monster House is such a movie. In fact this is one damned cute movie. The script is not only well-written, it’s highly intelligent and at no time condescends to the viewer. That’s something we don’t see everyday from the formulaic schlock normally churned out from Tinseltown.
I mean, come on, let’s face it. With dialog like this from a little girl: “If that’s its teeth, and the carpet is its tongue, then that (a chandelier) is its uvula.”
With the riposte from the little boy: “Oh, you mean it’s a girl house….!”
And other gems like semi-precious stones: “Good luck with puberty!” and, “I’m sorry about your house. I mean your wife. I mean, your housewife.”
The characters, especially the three computer generated children, are fantastically drawn and lovingly created. These are true three-dimensional characters in every sense of the word. Like I said, everything clicks in this movie and it’s a real treat. From the beginning we believe these children are alive. What’s more, we are willing to risk an emotional investment in their spooky escapades…and we are not disappointed in the outcome.
Horror doesn’t always work. When it misses the mark it’s achingly bad to watch (or read). But when it does work, especially in an intelligent and unforgettable movie like this one — chock full of delicious in-jokes — it can’t be dismissed.
If you ever get a chance, please, give this worthwhile movie a peek. I think you’ll be glad you did.