The Addams Family

The Addams Family
Directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan
Starring Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler and Allison Janney
In UK Cinemas October 25th, 2019

by Alex Plant

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re all-together ooky, but sometimes they fail to make much of an impression at all. Sure, it’s not as catchy, but it’s certainly an accurate description of the latest big-screen incarnation of Charles Addams’ macabre depiction of the average American family.

Margaux Needler (Janney) is preparing for the season finale of her reality home improvement TV show, in which she’ll aim to fill fifty homes in a meticulously designed slice of suburbia she calls Assimilation. The only thing that casts a shadow over her picket-fence paradise is a creepy old house on a nearby hill, whose occupants are imminently preparing for the arrival of a slew of relatives for the occasion of young Pugsley’s (Wolfhard) Sabre Mazurka, an Addams coming-of-age tradition. His sister Wednesday (Moretz), meanwhile looks to the streets of Assimilation with longing eyes, eager for a taste of the world outside of her gothic homestead. Parents Gomez (Isaac) and Morticia (Theron) begin to despair as a variety of equally eccentric relatives slowly start to show up at their hilltop house.

First thing’s first, The Addams Family movie isn’t bad, it’s just dull. This is truly a shame, as it’s clearly been made with a large amount of affection for the source material. The look of the characters in particular is incredibly close to Charles Addams’ original designs, and their gothic manse is filled with references and nods to The Addams Family comic strip and the 1960’s television series. But the big thing that this 21st century interpretation lacks is the ability to hook in an older audience, which is what Barry Sonnenfeld’s 90s live-action adaptations did so well. They had the heart of a family movie but were suitably twisted with it. Bizarrely, despite the limitations of the live-action medium , they were more vibrant and energetic than this animated take on the Addams clan, which has a low-stakes plot more akin to a feature-length television pilot.

The cast do their best with the largely weak jokes, with the core family in particular all feeling like good fits for their roles. Theron and Moretz stand out in particular, and the inclusion of Snoop Dogg as cousin Itt is less distracting than you might think, but it does still seem like an odd choice.

Seeing the classic design of these beloved characters is likely to make anyone that was excited for the cancelled stop-motion animated The Addams Family movie that was being produced and directed by Tim Burton feel sad that that version never came to pass. At the very least though, this version might serve as an introduction for younger audiences to these colourful characters that have a rich 80 year history.


Leave a Reply