The biggest surprise of “Monster House,” an animated and clever comedy from director Gil Kenan opening Friday, Oct. 6 at the Smith Opera House in downtown Geneva, is that it's honestly scary, in the way of those old-school haunted house films that had it both ways — when you're laughing, no one notices that you are also seriously spooked.
It's a family movie that kids and their parents will both love, which means it avoids the homilies even though it delivers a real message: Stay away from that creepy-looking place down the street.
While “Monster House” eschews the elegant storybook realism of “Polar Express” in favor of a funkier look, it was created using the same motion-capture technology.
Actors were filmed while wearing magnetic markers that tracked their every movement; animators then drew over them in the computer to make the characters lifelike.
The 12-year-olds who no longer go trick-or-treating or watch cartoons are almost certain to embrace “Monster House,” whose script is full of hip humor. Like the books of Roald Dahl and the “Harry Potter” novels, “Monster House” does not condescend to kids, but respects their intelligence, and their ability to separate fantasy from reality.
Just in time for Halloween, “Monster House” will be screened at 7 p.m. Oct. 6-10 and at 2 p.m. Sunday and Monday, a special Columbus Day matinee.
Rated PG, the film has a running time of one hour, 31 minutes. All seats for this special family film are $3.