The House with a Clock in its Walls 4K Blu-ray Review
By Chris Heinonen on
The House with a Clock in its Walls Summary
In The House With a Clock in its Walls directed by Eli Roth (The Green Inferno, Cabin Fever), Lewis Barnavelt (Vaccaro) goes to live with his Uncle Jonathan (Black) in a creaky and creepy mansion with an eerie tick-tocking heart. But when Lewis soon finds out he’s in the presence of magic practiced by his uncle and neighbor Mrs. Zimmerman (Blanchett), his new town’s dreary aura boosts to life in an exciting and dangerous way. Based on the beloved children’s classic book written by John Bellairs and illustrated by Edward Gorey, The House With a Clock in its Walls is written by Eric Kripke (creator of TV’s “Supernatural”) and co-stars Kyle MacLachlan (“Twin Peaks,” Inside Out), Colleen Camp (Clue), Renée Elise Goldsberry (“One Life to Live”), and Sunny Suljic (Mid90s, The Killing of a Sacred Deer). It is produced by Mythology Entertainment’s Brad Fischer (Shutter Island) and James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), as well as Kripke.
The House with a Clock in its Walls Movie Review
I had never read the book that The House with a Clock in its Walls is based upon, nor had my kids when we sat down to watch it. Overall the kids enjoyed the film, enough that they wanted to watch it again the next day. For our 6-year-old the last act was a bit scary, but our 9-year-old had no issues with it and just enjoyed it.
As a parent, I found the film overall to be acceptable but not great. There’s a bit of low-brow humor in there for kids but not too much. Overall it was fine enough time to watch the movie with the kids, though not something I’d come back to on my own as it is geared towards younger viewers. All the actors do a fine job though they aren’t given that much to dig into here. So if you have kids that have read the book, or are the right ages for it (8-14 seems like the ideal range), then they’re likely to enjoy watching this multiple times and you will be fine watching it with them. For those that are past that age, it won’t hold your attention that well and there are other choices to watch.
The House with a Clock in its Walls Technical Review
The House With a Clock in its Walls was shot on ARRI cameras at 2.8K resolution with an unknown digital intermediate resolution, but I’d guess it is 2K from my viewing. The lack of a true 4K transfer is apparent from the opening where you get a shot of a chocolate chip cookie. It looks good, but it lacks the true-to-life sharpness of the best transfers. However, the use of HDR during the film is very well done. As the characters cast spells or there is dim candlelight, those elements pop off the screen while the rest of the image stays deep and dark. The film spends a lot of time in the dark house so there are lots of shadows here, but they avoid crushing and have dark, true blacks. The overall image here is very good, but just lacks the fine detail of the best 4K transfers since the source doesn’t allow for it. I certainly wasn’t disappointed with how the film looked on-screen, though.
The Dolby Atmos soundtrack is completely different as it uses the Atmos channels continually to provide ambiance and immersion. When events happen in the house, or the school, or even outside, you’re placed right in the middle of the action and can hear small, subtle audio clues around you. Dialogue is made clear and easy to understand and also uses every channel as people move around the room, and the subwoofer gets used when needed. The movie soundtrack has plenty of time to show off here and it sounds great, leaving me no area where I feel it could be improved upon.
The House with a Clock in its Walls Special Features
- Warlocks and Witches – Go behind the scenes with the enchanting cast of The House with a Clock in Its Walls
- Finding Lewis – A look at the casting of Owen Vaccaro
- Jack’s Magical Journey – A look at the unique dynamism and magic that Jack Black brings to the character of Jonathan Barnavelt
- The Great Cate – The cast discuss Cate Blanchett’s wonderful performance as Florence Zimmerman
- The Terrifying Isaac Izard – Watch Kyle MacLachlan’s creepy evolution from living icon to undead-warlock
- Movie Magic
- The Ultimate Haunted House – Join filmmakers for a guided tour through the incredible house at the center of the film
- Automatons Attack – A behind-the-scenes look at the mechanical horrors involved in this chilling sequence
- Pumpkin Puke – Behind the scenes with the cast and an army of spooky, snarling, vomiting pumpkins
- Moving Pieces – Filmmakers and cast discuss the amazing clock room set
- Baby Jack – A behind-the-scenes look at the creepy Baby Jack sequence
- Tick Tock: Bringing the Book to Life – Filmmakers discuss how they adapted the book for the big screen
- Eli Roth: Director’s Journals – Director Eli Roth takes viewers behind the scenes
- Candler Mansion
- Newnan, GA
- The Chair
- Comrade Ivan
- New Zebedee Elementary
- Wrap Day
- Owen Goes Behind the Scenes – Armed with his own camera, Owen guides viewers on his own journey behind-the-scenes of the movie
- Around the Set
- Behind the Camera
- The Big Interview
- Downtime on Set
- Theme Song Challenge – Eli Roth and the cast are challenged to come up with a theme song for the film
- Do You Know Jack Black? – The cast compete with each other to see who knows Jack Black the best
- Abracadabra! – Eli Roth performs a magic trick for Owen Vaccaro
- Jack Black’s Greatest Fear – Eli Roth and Owen Vaccaro play a prank on Jack Black
- The Mighty Wurlitzer – Composer Nathan Barr discusses how he created the film’s unique and distinct score
- Alternate Opening and Ending with Commentary by Director Eli Roth and Actor Jack Black available
- Alternate Opening
- Alternate Ending
- Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Director Eli Roth and Actor Jack Black available
- More Books, Please
- A Horrible Practical Joke
- Tarby Ditches Lewis
- Eat Up
- Play for Him
- Get Out of the Way
- Time Is of the Essence
- The Clock That Never Breaks
- 12 Minutes to Go
- Gag Reel
- Feature Commentary with Director Eli Roth and Actor Jack Black
The House with a Clock in its Walls Review System
Sony A1E OLED, Panasonic UB820 UltraHD Blu-ray Player, KEF Ci5160RL-THX Fronts, Ci3160RL-THX Center, 2x Ci200RR-THX Surrounds, 4x CI200RR-THX Atmos Speakers, Anthem MRX 1120 Receiver, Power Sound Audio Subwoofer.
Very nice use of HDR throughout the film, a Dolby Atmos soundtrack that is just overall fantastic, my kids highly enjoyed it.
Not much for the grown-ups here, and not as sharp as the best 4K movies can be.
The House with a Clock in its Walls was enjoyable for my kids, who are the target age, but unlike the best kids movies didn't offer much for the parents. The use of HDR is great and the Dolby Atmos soundtrack is first-rate, but it is best enjoyed by the younger crowd.