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Inspiring Fear: Monster House

hblf, lfneJason L Blair12 March 2012

Some films are such obvious resources for Little Fears that I forget I haven’t already covered them. 2006’s animated tale Monster House is one such film, and I’d like to correct that omission right now.

(pictured, foreground left to right: Chowder, DJ, Jenny; background: evil demon-possessed single-family bi-level with full basement)

Monster House probably sounds like a typical haunted house story but what could be a by-the-numbers tale of a bunch of kids battling dark suburban forces soon becomes something much greater and with a lot more heart at its core than you might expect. The film centers on DJ, a kinda-weird kid with a kinda-even-weirder best friend named Chowder. Rounding out the major characters is newcomer Jenny who is soon dragged into DJ’s crazy idea that something seriously strange is wrong with the house across the street. As an attempt to find out more about the residence, the trio accidentally endangers the life of its resident, Old Man Nebbercracker. With its occupant gone, no one is around to contain the evil entity that does in fact live in the house and soon the entire neighborhood is in some serious trouble.

The supporting cast features Maggie Gyllenhaal as DJ’s babysitter Zee, Jason Lee as her dim-witted boyfriend Bones, Kevin James and Nick Cannon as a pair of bumbling cops, and Jon Heder as Skull, a video game-obsessed authority on the paranormal.

A haunted house is as classic a horror setting as you can get but Monster House adds enough new twists that it doesn’t feel played. Despite some places where it stumbles, I really enjoy Monster House and it’s a perfect fit for a Little Fears game. I highly recommend checking it out.

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