Monster House

Monster House

3.5 16
Director: Gil Kenan

Cast: Gil Kenan, Steve Buscemi, Nick Cannon, Maggie Gyllenhaal


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A suburban home has become physically animated by a vengeful human soul looking to stir up trouble from beyond the grave, and it's up to three adventurous kids from the neighborhood to do battle with the structural golem in this comically frightful tale, directed by Gil Kenan and featuring the voices of SteveSee more details below


A suburban home has become physically animated by a vengeful human soul looking to stir up trouble from beyond the grave, and it's up to three adventurous kids from the neighborhood to do battle with the structural golem in this comically frightful tale, directed by Gil Kenan and featuring the voices of Steve Buscemi, Nick Cannon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Kevin James. DJ Harvard (voice of Mitchel Musso) lives directly across the street from a most unusual house. A malevolent entity that longs to feed on the energy of the living, the once peaceful house that looms ominously outside of DJ's bedroom window would like nothing more than the chance to feast on the children of the neighborhood. As Halloween begins to draw near and the children of the neighborhood prepare for another long night of trick-or-treating, it appears as if it may be the house that is in for the biggest treat of all. Now, with the adults turning a deaf ear to DJ's strange findings, it's up to the brave young boy and his faithful friends Chowder (voice of Sam Lerner) and Jenny (Spencer Locke) to break through the barrier of the supernatural and defeat the powers of darkness before the house grows too powerful to fight.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
The spooky Radley place in To Kill a Mockingbird has nothing on the dread Nebbercracker abode in Monster House. Creepy. Mean. Scary. And that's just old man Nebbercracker (voiced by Steve Buscemi). The house is far, far worse -- or so 12-year-old DJ has come to fear. DJ becomes convinced that the house across the street is haunted and somehow alive. The audience already knows as much, as toys and other unfortunate objects disappear into the quicksand-like lawn. To investigate, DJ recruits his best friend, Chopper, the stereotypical chatty, fat sidekick and fellow misfit. They are joined by Jenny, an enterprising, quick-witted door-to-door school fundraiser for whom both boys feel the stirrings of a first adolescent crush. The trio can expect no help from adults who are by turns distracted (DJ's parents, who leave him for the weekend), disdainful (DJ's goth babysitter, voiced by Maggie Gyllenhaal), or disbelieving (two ill-fated cops, voiced by Kevin James and Nick Cannon). On the eve of October 31st, they will have to venture inside the house and destroy its vengeful heart before Halloween revelers get the ultimate trick. The film employs the "performance capture" animation pioneered in The Polar Express, digitally translating the movements of human actors into hyper-realistic animation. The effect is much improved this time out, if only in that the characters don't look like soulless children of the damned. Monster House is rated PG, but younger children may be upset by Nebbercracker's apparently fatal heart attack, which leaves the house unattended, and frightened by the house's attacks on those unfortunate enough to get within range of the carpet that emerges from the front door like a ravenous tongue. The climactic kid-versus-house showdown is particularly intense. Monster House is a thrilling relief from the recent spate of computer-animated talking-animal films. Its irresistible premise, as appealing as the prospect of toys coming to life in Toy Story, will evoke shivers of pleasure in anyone who ever imagined the worst about the eerie house down the street.
All Movie Guide
Monster House is a glorious return to form for exec producers (and masters of escapism) Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis -- and within the realm of computer animation, it's a welcome respite from the assembly line of movies in which zoo animals team up together. Gil Kenan's wellspring of imagination hearkens back to such Spielberg-produced classics as Gremlins and The Goonies, and it shares a motion-capture technology with Zemeckis' most recent directorial effort, The Polar Express. But Zemeckis has learned from the criticisms directed at Express. These animators have designed the characters as stylized versions of the vocal talent, rather than attempting the photo-realistic recreations of Express, which gave Tom Hanks a kind of zombie look. Monster House is indeed a technical marvel, its colors vibrant, its camera swooping through the frame (especially the opening, which follows a blowing leaf and a singing girl on a tricycle). But to focus just on that would short-change this terrific story, which is both funnier and scarier than children's movies usually get to be. In fact, so edgy is the script (by Dan Harmon, Pamela Pettler, and Rob Schrab), that it's almost more adult-oriented than child-oriented. There's real darkness and danger in this world of absentee parents, but there are also real children, real babysitters, and real video-game geeks -- this last a memorable cameo voiced by Napoleon Dynamite's Jon Heder. Bringing the marvelous dialogue to life are Maggie Gyllenhaal as the punked-out sitter, Jason Lee as her sketchy boyfriend, Steve Buscemi as a crotchety neighbor, and child actor Sam Lerner, whose spasmodic best friend falls somewhere between Eric Cartman and Chunk from The Goonies. The film's one failing is Nick Cannon's mouthy black police officer, whose character design and persona are uncharitable almost to the point of racist. Fortunately, the rest of Monster House is so good that it overpowers any such hiccups. Its star, the anthropomorphic mansion with the living lawn and the wooden jaws, is as creative a monster as Hollywood has produced in years.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Full Frame]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Filmmaker commentary; 7 featurettes:; Imaginary Heroes, Beginner's Luck, The Best of Friends, Lots of Dots, Black Box Theater, Making It Real, Did You Hear That?; Evolution of a scene: Eliza vs. Nebbercracker; The art of Monster House - photo gallery; The adventure continues online with dvd-rom link to exciting games, downloads & activities

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Steve Buscemi Nebbercracker
Nick Cannon Officer Lister
Maggie Gyllenhaal Zoe
Jon Heder Reginald 'Skull' Skulinski
Kevin James Officer Landers
Jason Lee Bones
Catherine O'Hara Mom
Kathleen Turner Constance
Fred Willard Dad
Mitchel Musso DJ Walter
Sam Lerner Chowder
Spencer Locke Jenny
Ryan Newman Little Girl
Woody Schultz Paramedic
Ian McConnel Paramedic
Erik Walker Bullies
Matthew Fahey Voice Only
Kevin the Dog Kevin the Dog
Blanchard Marissa Background Voices
Ranjani Brow Background Voices
Kimberly Beck Clark Background Voices
Miles Clark Background Voices
David Cowgill Background Voices
McKenna Cowgill Background Voices
Harrison Fahn Background Voices
Frannie Felder Background Voices
Spencer Lacey Ganus Background Voices
Bridget Hoffman Background Voices
Wendy Hoffman Background Voices
Mary Matilyn Mouser Background Voices
Emanuel Orlando Background Voices
Zoey Poll Background Voices
Zack Shada Background Voices
Justin Moran Shenkarow Background Voices
W.K. Stratton Background Voices
Hans Tester Background Voices
Corbett Tuck Background Voices
Ariel Winter Background Voices
Lora Witty Background Voices
Tyler Zaentz Background Voices
Kayleen Ancheta Motion Capture Models

Technical Credits
Gil Kenan Director
Scott Boland Casting
Michele Burke Consultant/advisor
Victoria Burrows Casting
Todd Cherniawsky Set Decoration/Design
Jason Clark Executive Producer
Xavier Pérez Grobet Cinematographer
Dan Harmon Original Story,Screenwriter
Aaron Haye Set Decoration/Design
Scott Herbertson Set Decoration/Design
Sony Pictures Imageworks Animator
Heather Smith Kelton Associate Producer
Rick Kline Sound Mixer
Mark Landon Makeup
Gary A. Lee Set Decoration/Design
Jason Lynch Set Decoration/Design
Ruth Myers Costumes/Costume Designer
Norman Newberry Art Director
Robert E. Ostermann Makeup
Greg Papalia Art Director
Pamela Pettler Screenwriter
Douglas Pipes Score Composer
Aldric La'Auli Porter Asst. Director
Jack Rapke Producer
Fabienne Rawley Editor
Andrew Reeder Set Decoration/Design
Gary Rizzo Sound Mixer
Bennett Schneir Associate Producer
Rob Schrab Original Story,Screenwriter
Adam P. Scott Editor
Steven Spielberg Executive Producer
Steve Starkey Producer
Kate Sullivan Set Decoration/Design
Tegan Taylor Makeup
Randy Thom Sound/Sound Designer
Ed Verreaux Production Designer
Robert Zemeckis Executive Producer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Monster House [FS]
1. Start [3:23]
2. "Stay Away From My House" [3:11]
3. Nebbercracker's Lawn [3:52]
4. The Key [3:09]
5. Dark Shadows [3:09]
6. Zee and Bones [3:38]
7. Back From the Dead [3:35]
8. Welcome Mat [2:36]
9. A Successful Future [3:34]
10. Scoping It Out [2:53]
11. Getting Technical [2:58]
12. The Cops Are Here [3:14]
13. The Source of Life [3:13]
14. Getting Prepared [3:49]
15. Under Arrest [3:29]
16. Staying Calm [3:50]
17. Monkey Shines [3:04]
49. Balls and Coils [3:37]
50. A Ghost! [3:14]
52. Constance Trouble [1:31]
21. "Let Her Go" [2:54]
22. Gaping Maw [3:21]
23. Under Destruction [1:05]
24. Reassembled [2:47]
25. Dynamite [1:05]
26. When the Smoke Clears [:32]
27. "We're Free" [3:22]
28. Trick or Treat [9:47]

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