Lonely teenage computer whiz Maxine Winslow (Mikelle) is one of five kids selected to spend a night in eccentric tech billionaire Atticus Virtue’s (Murray) mansion to participate in a series of challenges – with the most successful player winning said mega house as a prize.
With the mansion’s AI voice Haven (Sirtis) guiding them, the kids – including a social media addict, an obsessive gamer, a bully and a sports hero who secretly wants to be a musician – soon discover their evening isn’t going to be as fun as they first thought, as the house sets up increasingly dark games that touch on each teen’s inner traumas.
With nods to The Breakfast Club, haunted house movies, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and every movie you can think of where a computer goes rogue, this romps along with some nice twists and turns and makes good use of its low budget special effects. (In fact, the only negative is the rather obvious and intrusive pop soundtrack).
Mikelle is a terrific lead, and there are enjoyable performances from the rest of the cast – former teen star Murray is especially fun as the ludicrously named Virtue, while Star Trek Next Generation’s Sirtis is perfectly nice and nasty as the voice of the mansion’s controlling computer.
It’s a fun, sometimes spooky adventure for older kids, and one that’s well worth seeking out.
Is Max Winslow And The House Of Secrets suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is a 12A certificate in the UK and is aimed at kids over the age of 10.
There are some scenes in which the kids are in danger that may be too intense for younger audiences (one girl is trapped in a room with a threatening character, one girl nearly dies from breathing in a chemical, there are chase scenes and a scene in which the gamer is unable to escape from a VR game).
There are references to bullying.
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