Are you looking for a fun movie outing for the entire family during the Halloween season? If you answered yes to this question (why wouldn’t you have?) then Goosebumps may just be the perfect romp in the theater for both adults and the kiddos – with the exception of the very young ones.
Upset about moving from a big city to a small town, teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) finds a silver lining when he meets the beautiful girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush), living right next door. But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach’s comes when he learns that Hannah has a mysterious dad who is revealed to be R. L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series. It turns out that there is a reason why Stine is so strange… he is a prisoner of his own imagination – the monsters that his books made famous are real, and Stine protects his readers by keeping them locked up in their books. When Zach unintentionally unleashes the monsters from their manuscripts and they begin to terrorize the town, it’s suddenly up to Stine, Zach, and Hannah to get all of them back in the books where they belong. Note: Scholastic has sold over 400 million Goosebumps books worldwide in 32 languages since the series introduction in 1992, earning critical acclaim and dominating global best seller lists. R.L. Stine has been recognized as one of the bestselling children’s authors in history. (c) Sony
Goosebumps succeeds in a big way while doing things that, if most any other movie did them, they would be considered failures. The acting is not spectacular. The direction is decent but nothing that is of exceptional quality. The special effects are better than average but not incredible. There is nothing surprising in the story (except for a few jumps scares that are really well done). On the surface there is nothing about Goosebumps that makes it a standout movie.
What Goosebumps has is almost intangible… something deeper, something below the surface. Movie reviews use the phrase “this movie has heart” way too often. But, in a way, Goosebumps does have heart – but has something even rarer in movies today; it doesn’t take itself overly serious. From the direction, to the acting (even Jack Black plays it low-key as R.L. Stine), and on to the plot, Goosebumps knows what is and it is very comfortable with that. It understands that it is a movie first and foremost for kids. It caters to them before anyone else. It never bogs itself down with what I will call ‘high-drama’. It moves at a brisk pace and keeps the scares and chills light-hearted all the while staying entertaining to the adults who are merely tagging along for the kids. This is what I really liked about Goosebumps. It truly is fun for the entire family.
My recommendation is to get out and see this one. Even if you are not familiar with the Goosebumps source material of books by R.L. Stine and aren’t up to date on the cast of monsters and villains (like the Abominable Snowman, the Scarecrow, the Giant Praying Mantis or the ventriloquist’s dummy), you will still have no problem understanding what is going on. I have never read any Goosebumps books and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Sometimes it is fun to be scared just a little. I give Goosebumps 4 very bright stars.
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