Eli Roth is the last person you’d expect to be directing a family-friendly fantasy adventure whose official description calls it “in the tradition of Amblin classics where fantastical events occur in the most unexpected places,” yet, here we are.
This morning Universal Pictures unveiled the newest offering from its recently revived Amblin shingle, The House With A Clock In Its Walls, based on the beloved children’s classic written by John Bellairs and illustrated by Edward Gorey. Jack Black and Cate Blanchett star as the caretakers of a whimsically spine-tingling old house equipped with a mysterious clockwork mechanism, along with Owen Vaccaro (of the Daddy’s Home movies) as Black’s nephew, who accidentally awakens the dead poking around in his uncle’s enchanted workshop.
Having watched the trailer, it does seem to be a true departure for Roth: There’s nary a disembowling or extra-gooey head shot to be found, just lots of Harry Potter-esque magical ambience. We’ll see if the director snuck in any of his signature gore when The House with A Clock in Its Walls hits theaters on September 21.