||MONSTER HOUSE is a feat of blockbusting filmmaking--a visually stunning, witty tale that is sure to stimulate children and their parents. The film focuses on an anthropomorphic mansion, a haunted house with human characteristics that actively frightens neighborhood folks as it attempts to reign over its inhabitants. One day, a trio of intrepid youngsters, sick of being terrorized, decide to fight back. They are cutely pubescent DJ (Mitchel Musso); his fumbling, chubby friend Chowder (Sam Lerner); and smart-as-a-whip tomboy Jenny (Spencer Locke), who immediately enchants the awkward boys. The local police are no help, so DJ, Chowder, and Jenny are left to their own clever devices, which result in a series of rollicking, hilarious, and sometimes scary adventures. A cast of colorful personalities surrounds the central characters, and they are voiced by luminaries who include Catherine O'Hara, Kevin James, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kathleen Turner, Steve Buscemi, and the brilliant Fred Willard. And teen hipsters will delight in hearing the droll voice of Jon Heder (the title character of cult hit NAPOLEON DYNAMITE) as a deadbeat pizza maker nicknamed "Skull." First-time director Gil Kenan proves spirited and highly adept at mastering such a high-tech production, and followers of animation will want to pay attention to the use of new digital techniques that stray away from straightforward computer drawing. MONSTER HOUSE is executive produced by Robert Zemeckis, who helmed the innovative and sophisticated animated feature WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? in 1988. He once again proves that family fare need not be alienating to older viewers, but can appeal to on every level from childhood and upward.