Who's in It:
The voices of Steve Buscemi, Nick Cannon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jon Heder, Kevin James, Jason Lee, Catherine O'Hara, Kathleen Turner, Fred Willard
The Basics: The creepy old house in the neighborhood really is haunted and likes to devour anyone who crosses its path. It also sucks stuff into the ground, has a face and isn't shy about making life pretty miserable for a trio of Harry Potter-ish kids.
What's the Deal? Motion-capture animated films are not my favorite thing. I mean, did you see The Polar Express? I don't care how big a hit that one was; it was seriously barfy. Well, the good news is that 2006 is the future, and the technology is much better. It doesn't try for the way humans really look (which always just winds up creepy) and goes for a more cartoony, stylized approach. And it's fun. Loud and frantic, but fun.
The Part I Really Want to See on the DVD Extras: Apparently Kathleen Turner, who voices the haunted house, had to jump around in a foam house-shaped outfit for the motion-capture stuff. I think I could watch two hours of that and be happy.
Got Very Small Kids in Your Life? Then you might think about staying home. It's not truly scary, but the 3- and 4-year-olds might end up a little freaked out. It is, after all, about a haunted house that eats people.
Shout-Out in Order: My good friend Jay Redd was the visual-effects supervisor for this movie, which is why it looks so good. Because he's a genius. And he's got one of those crazy mustaches that curl up on the sides with mustache wax.