Director: Rob Letterman
Stars: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Ryan Lee, Amy Ryan, Jillian Bell
After moving to the middle of nowhere, Madison, Delaware, Zach (Minnette) finds that he lives next door to a mysterious man (Black) and an enchanting daughter (Rush). After hearing screams, Zach and his new friend Champ (Lee) go to investigate, only to find that the man in question is the author of the Goosebumps books, R. L. Stine, and the monsters from his pages are escaping and running rampant through the town!
I used to love the Goosebumps books back when I was a kid, and I almost wish that I could have re-read them before seeing the movie because my memory is hazy and I only remembered a few things here and there from all the old stories, but Goosebumps is still a fun watch even if you don’t catch all the references. Black is one of those actors that people seem to either love or loathe, and I happen to enjoy him and I think he was good as Stine, (although I can’t speak to how accurate a portrayal it is of the real man). The film isn’t that original and a lot of the plot beats are predictable, but it’s quite cool to see all the monsters from the book come to life and terrorise the town.
The film moves along at a quick pace and the actors do a good job, forming a nice dynamic. Champ had the potential to become very annoying very quickly but I feel that they reined him in enough, and his exchanges with Stine were humorous. There were some good-natured pokes at Stephen King and for a comedy-horror you could do a lot worse.
I don’t think it’s going to scare the pants off anyone (although maybe for kids it might be a lot to take in!) but it’s a good nostalgia trip for those who enjoyed the books, and it’s actually a ‘scary’ film that the whole family could enjoy.