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Home for the Halloween

Monster House -- a good flick, but not for the faint of heart

DJ's day started off OK as his parents left for a dental convention. It started going downhill when the babysitter arrived. And then when the house across the street tried to eat him, well, then it was the pits.

'Monster House,' is the second film to be released on REAL D's digital 3D format (the first being 'The Polar Express') and is sure to be a crowd pleaser with every age group (see information box).

Old man Nebbercracker had been chasing away those who even thought about stepping on his lawn, let alone those who actually put a foot down.

He confiscates every toy in sight, but when DJ's best friend, Chowder, loses his favorite basketball to Nebbercracker, it's time to take action.

But there is something weird about that house. Does the movie 'The Haunting' ring a bell? And it's no coincidence it just happens to be Halloween.

DJ and Chowder recruit, Jenny, herself almost a victim of the house when trying to sell candy door-to-door. The intrepid trio attempts to unlock the secrets of the house all the while trying to convince the adults that pandemonium is about to be unleashed. Ah, but not all is as it seems as what you thought was true is challenged and obfuscated.

With a story by Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab and directed by Gil Kenan, 'Monster House' takes viewers back to the days of old-fashioned quirky horror films, blending with modern-day animation technologies.

The computer graphics are superb, and the voice work, including Steve Buscemi, Jason Lee, Jon Heder, is outstanding.

Though the tail end becomes somewhat preposterous, it still gets a thumbs up for the bonding experiences the children share, for the questioned perceptions you thought you knew and for the abilities of these characters to make you believe you're actually watching pre-teens field their way through puberty.

Run time: About 91 minutes

Rated: PG for scary images and sequences, thematic elements, some crude humor and brief language. Note: Parents interviewed at a recent screening felt 10 years old or older was about the right age to view this film; anyone younger may have difficulties with the darkness and scary scenes.

Where: Cornelius Stadium Cinemas

Times: 11:15 a.m., 1:15, 3:15, 5:15, 7:15 and 9:15 p.m.