Mid-July seems like an odd time to release a Halloween-themed CGI kiddie adventure, but one look at Monster House will tell you why: It's a fixer-upper if ever there was one. The titular house belongs to old man Nebbercracker (voiced by Steve Buscemi), who's the scourge of the neighborhood until he's taken away by an ambulance. It's up to a plucky trio of kids to discover why the house has come alive and begun to swallow passersby whole, or else Halloween will be ruined! As suburban fairy tales go, this isn't horrible, but the animators could have spent a little less time working on the house itself (impressively lifelike) and a little more working on the humans who do battle with it (not so much).
Monster House tries to straddle the line between childhood and puberty to little effect; it's adult enough to hint at consequence, but not enough to follow through. And despite the PG rating, the harmless jokes are bland and the scary parts ineffectual for anyone but the toddler set. This house isn't a-rockin' and you needn't bother knockin'.
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