So you might not think to look to children’s fare to find good examples of horror. And you certainly wouldn’t expect much from a cartoon, for Pete’s sake. Especially one with Spielberg and Zemeckis’ names on it. But if this means you missed Monster House, you missed out.
Don’t be fooled by the fact that the protagonists are kids. This is a grand spooky adventure with just enough of a dark twist to take off that sugary Halloween aftertaste. I’m actually pretty surprised it’s a straight-up PG. It features some really wonderful and imaginative, uh, creature design for lack of a better word. Because — spoiler — the creature is actually a house.
Furthermore, all the stuff with the kids is really well done. In fact, everything Super 8 attempted, Monster House does ten times better. It even uses the same motion capture technique that Zemeckis pressed into service for Polar Express, but it doesn’t make that movie’s mistake of trying to look photorealistic. By presenting animated characters instead of creepy lifelike dolls, Monster House skips nimbly over the uncanny valley.
If you can dig on Nightmare before Christmas, Coraline, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, and Costume Quest, then I promise the sadly overlooked Monster House will be right up your alley.