Goosebumps – Movie Review
Goosebumps – PG
Release Date: Fri 16 Oct 2015
Goosebumps is a fantasy/comedy where the popular book series’ monsters are sealed in magic books kept by author R.L. Stine (Jack Black.) When Stine’s new neighbor Zach (Dylan Minnette) and his friend Champ (Ryan Lee) fear that Stine has done something terrible to Stine’s daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush,) they sneak into the house and inadvertently unleash the Goosebumps monsters into the world. It’s up to the four of them to re-capture the creatures back into the books.
The movie’s plot, blatantly borrowed from Jumanji is very straightforward. The monsters themselves feel like a long series of cameos save for their de facto leader, a ventriloquist’s dummy named Slappy (voiced by Black.) For fans of the series, and in particular for kids that grew up reading Goosebumps in the 1990’s, the movie adaptation comes with plenty of nods to the original stories and characters. For those who watch without having read the books the movie still manages to be interesting even if the monsters have little characterization or screen time.
Once the set pieces begin the movie slowly refocuses on developing the human characters which does work in its favor as they have actual personalities and motivations beyond just running around destroying things.
There is every possibility that the movie will create renewed interest from young readers in the book series. I can also see kids being disappointed that the human characters the movie develops are not actually in the books including the fictional version of R.L. Stine.
This is a movie you can enjoy with your kids and has some genuinely funny moments. Even kids to young to read the books will enjoy the movie version and despite the light horror elements in the books, the movie is never scary with everything being played for laughs.
Aaron and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car: