Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

The House with a Clock in Its Walls

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Eli Roth's aged-down spookfest has jump-worthy scenes.

Movie PG 2018 104 minutes
The House with a Clock in Its Walls Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 254 parent reviews

age 18+


Wow this is a hard one. I think the acting is good. My family are big fans of Jack Black. However, it’s the storyline that I’m giving this rating on. To put it quite frankly, there were many times I said out loud, “wow, this is really demonic/satanic!” And I honestly think the writers would say that that statement is true considering the fact that they summon a demon and show demons several times. I hope this helps those parents who look for these kinds of reviews. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend it for that reason.
1 person found this helpful.
age 10+

Not as scary as reviews seem

I was hesitant to show this to my 8 and 10 year old based on the reviews here, but we tried it out, and I’m glad we did! The movie is suspenseful and there were times that my 8 year old hid his eyes because it seemed like something scary would happen, but the scares weren’t that bad. My 10 year old loved it. It was an enjoyable movie for our family!

This title has:

Great role models
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (254 ):
Kids say (114 ):

Director Eli Roth's first foray into family-friendly movies isn't a masterpiece, but it's just spooky and funny enough to entertain young moviegoers who are new to the horror genre. Black and Blanchett are an amusing pair, trading barbs, bickering, and working together to keep Lewis safe. Given her mostly serious filmography, it's easy to forget that Blanchett has finely honed comedic skills. Unfortunately, the laughs here are sometimes awkwardly timed. But Black, as always, is goofy and hams it up in an affable way for the audience. And Vaccaro, who played the son in both Daddy's Home movies, is believable as a shy, slightly nerdy orphan who's hoping to fit in at a new home and school.

The movie is technically well made, but its story is uneven in parts. It's young-kid friendly one moment and then unsettling the next. And once the villains are revealed, the movie gets downright creepy. A lot starts happening rather quickly in the final act, and a few flashbacks and the big magical battle scenes may frighten kids who are sensitive to scary stuff. Roth still has some wrinkles to iron out if he wants to continue making starter horror films for kids, but this first attempt is serviceable enough to be on rotation for Halloween night and sleepover viewings.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate