Eli Roth Replaces Trademark Irreverence with Quiet Reverence for The House with a Clock in Its Walls

“At first glance, it’s difficult to situate The House with a Clock in Its Walls within director Eli Roth’s filmography. Following a politically reckless triptych that studied the implications of mass socialization through online platforms (The Green Inferno [2013], Knock Knock [2015] and Death Wish [2018]), this tonally scattershot kiddie Gothic seems almost to surface from nowhere. In some sense, it’s worthwhile to view the film completely on its own terms; but when dislocated from the rest of Roth’s ouevre, it offers little foundation for serious critical engagement. The film is flatly and almost numbingly pleasant. It’s over-designed but not to the point of genuine exuberance; occasionally amusing but never that funny; periodically stirring but by no means truly creepy; and unlike every one of its filmmaker’s preceding films, it moves through its entire runtime without ever straying near the territory of bad taste.”

Read the full review in Vague Visages.

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