Jack Black and Cate Blanchett Live in ‘The House with a Clock in Its Walls’

The new trailer for the Universal Pictures’ fantasy/horror flick The House with a Clock in the Walls looks like macabre fun.

Based on the children’s novel by John Bellairs, the film tells the “magical adventure tells the spine-tingling tale of 10-year-old Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) who goes to live with his uncle (Jack Black) in a creaky old house with a mysterious tick-tocking heart. But his new town’s sleepy façade jolts to life with a secret world of warlocks and witches when Lewis accidentally awakens the dead.”

It also stars Cate Blanchett as Mrs. Zimmerman, who seems to be the house’s caretaker, and you can already see some of the comic chemistry between Black and Blanchett. The trailer begins with young Lewis arriving to the house and realizing it’s not your ordinary creaky old house. As Black’s character Jonathan Barnavelt says, “You’re safe, but things are quite different here.” You ain’t kidding. He also ominously declares, “There’s a ticking in the walls. We don’t know what it does, but it’s something horrible.”

Watch the trailer above!

While it has that Harry Potter vibe, mixed with Goosebumps (which Black also has an association with), the real kicker to The House with a Clock in Its Walls is that it’s directed by Eli Roth, who has mostly been known for hardcore horror films like Hostel and Cabin Fever. Roth has such a cache in that kind of genre, seeing him direct something far more kid-oriented is an interesting twist in his career.

Maybe Roth is mellowing out in his older age and doesn’t necessarily direct such gross torture porn or ultra-violent material all the time. Judging from the looks of this trailer for The House with a Clock in Its Walls, Roth has captured a certain fantastical yet slightly sinister essence. We know kids like to be scared, just so long as it’s done in a cool fashion.

The House with a Clock in Its Walls opens September 21.

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