When it comes to making movies aimed at teenagers, Hollywood doesn’t have the greatest track record. The huge surge in popularity of young adult fiction this century has spawned numerous franchises and successes. However, for every Hunger Games or Love, Simon there are countless Maze Runners or Divergents. Book adaptations are an increasingly dangerous game given today’s toxic fandom, so original concepts are often better received. That’s the case with Max Winslow and the House of Secrets.
Max Winslow (Sydne Mikelle) loves computers. In fact, she’d much rather spend time with them than any of her peers. When an eccentric billionaire, Atticus Virtue’s (Chad Michael Murray), offers the students of his former high school the opportunity to win his mansion, she finds herself amongst the five chosen to compete. Max is joined by a gamer (Jason Genao), a lacrosse star (Tanner Buchanan), a social media obsessive (Jade Chynoweth) and a bully (Emery Kelly). They must solve a number of riddles to win the prize, but something is not quite right.
Max Winslow and the House of Secrets engages with the modern online word to produce an entertaining and clever spin on familiar themes which will likely connect with younger audiences. Whilst not everything works, the fact director Sean Olson is prepared to try so many things is refreshing. Max Winslow and the House of Secrets tackles a number of issues which impact on adolescents in an inventive way. More importantly, it’s actually good fun.
Max Winslow and the House of Secrets is in cinemas from 23 October.