Eli Roth, yes that Eli Roth of Death Wish and Hostel, directs from a screenplay by Eric Kripke (“Supernatural (TV)”, “Timeless (TV)”), and together they’ve created a child-friendly world full of magic and animated objects that falls somewhere between Harry Potter and Goosebumps.
Owen Vaccaro (“Daddy’s Home”, “Fun Mom Dinner”) is Lewis, a young orphan boy who goes to live with his uncle Jonathan (Jack Black) in his big old, mysterious house.
Living next door to Jonathan, though generally round his place all the time, is Florence Zimmerman, Cate Blanchett (“Thor: Ragnarok“, “Carol”), and together with strange goings on in the house, the pairing make an odd-couple.
As it transpires, Jonathan is a warlock and Florence a witch, and they are hunting for the titular clock in the house. They know it does something bad, exactly what remains a mystery.
As Lewis struggles to fit in at his new school, his attempt at impressing sees him raising the dead, never a good thing, and so begins a titanic race against time, magic, creepy dolls and pumpkins.
You know where you are with Jack Black, he’s flamboyant in his methods, some may say over the top, but for a child-friendly production like this it works, it’s not breaking new ground, but it works.