Friday, October 16, 2015 marks the official theatrical release of Goosebumps – the family horror/comedy from director Rob Letterman based off the works of R.L. Stine. Nerd Nation Magazine was in attendance at the advance press screening the preceding Monday courtesy of Sony/Columbia Pictures and Regal Cinemas.
How did Goosebumps in movie form measure up? Read on to see for yourselves!
This is a kitschy little Halloween season family film. It stars Jack Black as our favorite childhood scare writer, R.L. Stine. I’m not sure if the author is as funny, or as serious as Black made him out to be, but it was still an interesting performance that was quite amusing. His co-stars are Dylan Minnette as Zach, the new kid in town with a sad past, and Odeya Rush as Hannah, Stine’s daughter. Though, truthfully, I actually liked Ryan Lee’s supporting character, the awkward teenage reject, Champ more than those two.
The movie starts with Zach and his mom moving to small town Madison, Delaware. Of course, as a teenager, Zach is less than thrilled to be moving from New York to a tiny town. He meets Hannah and Stine as he begins unloading the moving truck, and the story goes from there. Champ gets introduced on Zach’s first day at school, and seems to be the only kid interested in hanging out with Zach.
If you’ve watched the previews, you know that an incident occurs that has Zach breaking into Stine’s house with Champ as his wingman. That’s where they discover who Zach’s neighbor is as well as his locked collection of “Goosebumps” novel manuscripts. The kicker, though, is that each of these manuscripts contains a very real monster within, that once released is sure to unleash terror on the unsuspecting small town… and of course, they do. A whole lot of running and screaming (most of it Champ’s) ensues from there with hilarity, slapstick comedy, and cliché lines aiding the plot line.
Interestingly, Jack Black, not only starred as Stine, but also played his frenemy, Slappy the sinister ventriloquist dummy who becomes the main antagonist. He doesn’t want to go back into his book, and as he is the only monster Stine created with as much of his own intelligence as mischievousness, thus creating a formidable opponent. Will Stine and his team of young accomplices be able to stop Slappy and all of Stine’s monsters come-to-life? Well, you’ll just have to watch and find out for yourselves! Also, be on the lookout for a rare cameo appearance by none other than the real R.L. Stine himself during the film!
The Bottom Line:
Overall, Goosebumps is what it is – a silly, fun little “spooky cute” family fright flick just in time for Halloween season. It’s definitely a flick to take the kids to see, or to add to your “must-watch-for-Halloween” DVD collection. It had some really great graphics, namely the abominable snowman. and all of the monsters, including Slappy, were really well done. Don’t expect anything more than just good old-fashioned, silly, family fun… but if that’s what you’re looking for, this movie has it in spades. Personally, I wouldn’t pay full theater prices to see this one, but would definitely recommend it for home viewing. – 7.0/10
Staff Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine