Monster House (PG)

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The Independent Culture

A variation on the haunted house movie, this CGI animation takes the kind of clapboard house lived in by Norman Bates, plants it in an American suburban street, and lends it a malign mind of its own.

The opening, and best, sequence involves the house's crabby owner, Nebbercracker (well voiced by Steve Buscemi), who terrorises the neighbourhood children and confiscates every tricycle and ball that touches his lawn. If only this creepy menace had been maintained. Instead, when the old man dies - leaving the house itself to greedily open its doors in readiness for Halloween - the earlier chills give way to amusement park thrills, to the film's detriment.