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Monster House is a 2006 computer animated motion capture horror/comedy film directed by Gil Kenan, produced by ImageMovers and Amblin Entertainment, and distributed by Columbia Pictures. The film stars Mitchell Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, Steve Buscemi, Nick Cannon, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin James, Jason Lee, Catherine O'Hara, Kathleen Turner, and Fred Willard.
Executive produced by Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg, this is the first time since Back to the Future Part III that they have worked together. It is also the first time that Zemeckis and Spielberg both served as executive producers of a film. The film's characters are animated primarily utilizing performance capture, making it the second film to use the technology so extensively, following producer Robert Zemeckis' The Polar Express.
Monster House received generally positive reviews from critics and grossed over $140 million worldwide. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the79th Academy Awards.
12-year-old DJ Walters spies on his elderly neighbor Mr. Nebbercracker who confiscates any item landing in his yard. DJ's parents leave town for the weekend for a dentists' convention, leaving him in the care of Elizabeth "Zee". DJ's best friend Charles "Chowder" loses his basketball on Nebbercracker's lawn. DJ is caught by Nebbercracker while recovering it, who rages at him before apparently suffering a heart attack and being taken away by an ambulance. That night, DJ receives phone calls from Nebbercracker's house with no one on the other end. DJ eavesdrops on Zee's boyfriend Bones who tells Zee about losing his kite on Nebbercracker's lawn when he was younger and that Nebbercracker supposedly ate his wife. Later, Bones sees his kite in the doorway of Mr. Nebbercracker's house, but he and the kite are consumed by the haunted house as he is retrieving it.
The next morning, Jenny Bennett is selling Halloween chocolates. DJ and Chowder see her going to Nebbercracker's house, and they rush out to warn her catching her before she is eaten by the house. Jenny calls the police, but police officers Landers and Lester do not believe their story.
The trio seek advice from Reginald "Skull" Skulinski, who is claimed to be an expert on the supernatural. They learn that the house is a "domus mactabilis" (Latin for "deadly home"); a being created when a human soul merges with a structure. They assume the house is inhabited by Nebbercracker's soul. The only way to kill the house is to destroy its heart; its source of life. They conclude that the heart must be the fireplace, as DJ realizes that the chimney has been smoking since Nebbercracker died. Chowder provides a cold medicine-filled dummy (made from a vacuum cleaner and some other objects) that should cause the house to sleep long enough for them to douse the furnace. Officers Landers and Lester thwart their plan upon arrival and they are arrested when Landers finds the cold medicine stolen from Chowder's father's pharmacy inside the dummy. The cops place the trio in their car while they examine the house. The house eats Landers, Lester and the car. DJ, Chowder and Jenny escape the car but are trapped in the house.
The house falls asleep and they begin exploring. They fall into the basement and find a collection of toys accumulated from Nebbercracker's lawn, as well as a cage containing the body of Nebbercracker's wife Constance the Giantess encased in cement. The house realizes they are inside and attacks them. DJ, Chowder and Jenny force the house to vomit them outside by grabbing its uvula. Nebbercracker arrives home alive, revealing that the house is possessed by Constance. As a young man Nebbercracker met Constance, who was an unwilling member of a circus sideshow, and fell in love with her despite her obesity. After helping her escape, she and Nebbercracker began building the house. One Halloween, as children tormented her, Constance tried hurting them with an axe, but lost her footing and died in the foundations of the house. The cement buried her body. Nebbercracker finished the house after Constance's death, knowing it was what she would have wanted. Aware that Constance's spirit made the house come alive, Nebbercracker tried keeping people away by pretending to hate children.
DJ tells Nebbercracker it is time to let Constance go, but she overhears. The house breaks free from its foundation and chases the group to a construction site. Nebbercracker attempts to convince Constance that she should die while holding a stick of dynamite, but Constance refuses. As she tries to eat him, Chowder fights the house off with a back hoe, causing it to fall into a pit. DJ is given the dynamite, and he and Jenny climb to the top of a crane while Chowder distracts Constance. DJ throws the dynamite into the chimney, destroying the house. The trio see Nebbercracker with Constance's ghost for the last time before she fades away. DJ apologizes to Nebbercracker for the loss of his house and wife, but Nebbercracker thanks DJ and the kids for freeing him and Constance. That night, children in their Halloween costumes are lined up at the site of Nebbercracker's house, where DJ, Chowder and Jenny help him return the toys to their owners. Jenny's parents pick her up and DJ and Chowder go trick-or-treating, which they previously thought they were too old for.
As the credits roll, those who were eaten by the house emerge from the basement. Bones finds that Elizabeth is now dating Skull, Officer Landers and Officer Lester leave to "investigate" some of the trick-or-treating candy, and the dog urinates on a nearby jack-o'-lantern enough to put out its flame.
- Mitchel Musso as DJ Walters, a 12 year old boy, who is known for spying on Nebbercracker through a telescope. He is treated like a younger boy and is often thought crazy.
- Sam Lerner as Charles "Chowder", a 12 year old boy, who is DJ' s best friend. He has a habit of acting slightly strange and immature.
- Spencer Locke as Jenny Bennett, an intelligent 11 year old girl who attends an elite all-girls school called Westbook Prep. DJ and Chowder both have crushes on her, but she only returns DJ's affections.
- Steve Buscemi as Horace Nebbercracker, a former US Army "demolition squad" expert who lives across the street from DJ. He is known for stealing anything that lands on his lawn. It is later revealed that he was Constance's husband.
- Maggie Gyllenhaal as Elizabeth "Zee", DJ' s punk babysitter. She is rude and, like his parents, treats D.J. in a sarcastic manner.
- Catherine O'Hara and Fred Willard as Mr. and Mrs. Walters, DJ' s overprotective parents who treat their son in babyish ways.
- Jason Lee as Bones, Zee' s boyfriend. He takes great pleasure in torturing DJ and Chowder.
- Jon Heder as Reginald "Skull" Skulinski, a videogame-crazed comic geek who once played an arcade game for 4 days on one quarter, a gallon of chocolate, milk and an adult diaper.
- Kevin James as Officers Landers, a police officer and Officer Lester's partner. Landers is an experienced cop with an easygoing, sarcastic and joking personality.
- Nick Cannon as Officer Lester, a police officer who is Officer Landers' partner. Lester is a rookie on his first week.
- Kathleen Turner as Constance, a 450 pound woman who was featured in a circus' freak show in the 1950s. Nebbercracker, having fallen in love with her, freed and married her. People (especially children) constantly ridiculed Constance because of her size, driving her to the point of fits of anger which eventually led to her death and her spirit possessing Nebbercracker's house.