While much of Jack Black's comedic work rests firmly in PG-13 territory, in recent years he's delivered more family-friendly entertainment, particularly through his appearances in 2015's Goosebumps and last year's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Later this year, he'll keep that particular train going with The House with a Clock in Its Walls. While this movie will have plenty of horror elements just like Goosebumps did, if the first trailer is any indication, it doesn't look like it will be anywhere near as funny, though it makes up for that with its mysterious and magical elements. Take a look at the first The House with a Clock in Its Walls preview to see for yourself.
Based off the 1973 book of the same name written by Edward Gorey, The House with a Clock in Its Walls follows a young boy named Lewis Barnavelt who goes to live with his uncle Jonathan at his strange house. The excess of clocks could just come off as eccentric, but as we see in this trailer, the house also contains numerous magical oddities, including a giant, purple-tentacled monster. But most of these are relatively easy to deal with; the true danger lies in a clock hidden within the haunted house that has the potential to destroy the world, and it's up to Lewis and Jonathan to find that clock before it's too late. Along with Owen Vaccaro and Jack Black playing Lewis and Jonathan, respectively, The House with a Clock in Its Walls' main cast includes Cate Blanchett as Mrs. Zimmerman, Jonathan's witch neighbor and best friend; Kyle MacLachlan as Isaac Izard, the original owner of this weird house; and Colleen Camp as Mrs. Hanchett, Jonathan's nosy neighbor.
Judging by this trailer, The House with a Clock in Its Walls feels like an old-school movie, and not just because it's set in the mid-20th century and the preview used the classic Universal logo. There's a timeless feel to the movie, as if (visual effects aside) it could have been made a decade or two earlier and still fit well among other cinematic offerings. But The House with a Clock in Its Walls also looks like it will be especially dark, which could work towards distinguishing itself among the competition.
With most horror movies being rated R or balancing precariously in the PG-13 realm, it's rare that a movie comes out that's intended to be scary, yet still be accessible to younger moviegoers. Goosebumps was aiming to do that, but it ultimately offered more laughs than frights. The House with a Clock in Its Walls, on the other hand, looks like it will be a more serious affair, though I imagine there will be a sprinkling of levity throughout the story. That being said, if it weren't for Amblin Entertainment producing and the fact that the source material was geared towards kids, I wouldn't be surprised if the MPAA ended up assigning The House with a Clock in Its Walls a PG-13 rating.
The House with a Clock in Its Walls opens its doors in theaters on September 21. As for what other movies are being released this year, check out our 2018 premiere guide.