Max Winslow and the House of Secrets (PG) | Close-Up Film Review

Dir. Sean Olson, US, 2019, 98 mins

Cast: Sydne Mikelle, Chad Michael Murray, Tanner Buchanan, Jade Chynoweth

Review by Michelle Moore

Max Winslow And The House Of Secrets (cert 12A) will be in UK Cinemas from Friday 23rd October, with previews in Scotland and Northern England

It is the season to be scared once again. With Halloween just around the corner, it’s that time of year when all the spooky movies come out of the woodwork, for youngsters as well as for the grown-ups. This time around we have Max Winslow and the House of Secrets; think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with less chocolate and more mind-boggling technology.

Atticus Virtue (Murrey) was a tech savvy child prodigy. Now all grown, he is an eccentric billionaire who appears in a hologram to the students of a High School offering five of them the opportunity to come to his mansion and play games and the winner…gets his mansion! What is the catch you might say? A stranger invites five teens to his house to play…sinister? The five chosen students – the recluse, the social media queen, the jock, the mean kid and the gamer – enter the mansion and make their way through their own individual emotionally charged game, they battle against their own demons; being bullied, self-image, compulsions, being honest with oneself, and overcoming the feeling of being alone.

At first the artificial intelligence running the show, a system that calls itself HAVEN, seems mean, angry and violent. However, as the students work their way through their games, you begin to wonder if maybe the house is not as irrational as you first thought; there is some sense to the madness that it is creating. There are bigger morals to Max Winslow and the House of Secrets than you ever think possible at the start. Be true to yourself; love the person you are; don’t change yourself to fit others ways; be yourself; don’t let others dictate what you have to do; do the things you love and love the things you do.

Although the movie is named after one of the characters, Max Winslow (Mikelle), it is the A.I. house that is the main focus. Max appears just like the other characters, though becomes more of a focus towards the end. Visuals are simple and what you would expect from a house run by an A.I. Things are made to appear and disappear as if from nowhere, portals to different places and characters are seeing things through goggles and in mirrors that are not actually there; simple, basic and enjoyable. As the night progresses things begin to turn darker and the true meaning of the house is revealed.

Max Winslow and the House of Secrets is certainly not spooky or creepy, but does introduce a younger audience to the possibilities that can be achieved with technology as well as implant some values in its viewers.

Find listings for Max Winslow and the House of Secrets Here