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The Goosebumps series of books played a large part in many a childhood. The books were not only a way of introducing horror to children, but also some crazy and interesting plotlines. Author R.L. Stine did a fantastic job of charming readers the world over. While the series has already received the small screen treatment in 1995, how would a feature movie work out?
Goosebumps the movie was released theatrically in 2015 and has finally made its way to DVD and Blu-ray.
The movie starts off with a small family moving to the ‘suburbs’ of an American small town, leaving their old lives behind them. Already, that’s a very Goosebumps thing to do. Son of the family and main protagonist, Zack Cooper (Dylan Minnette) discovers that while next door neighbour Hanna (Odeya Rush) appears normal, her father (Jack Black) is somewhat of an asshole. When Zack suspects the father may be keeping his own daughter locked up, he breaks into the house to save her.
He soon realises Hanna’s father is none other than author R.L. Stine and proceeds to accidentally knock over original manuscripts for the book series. This releases monsters trapped inside of tomes who begin to attack the town and its inhabitants.
The plot not only manages to capture the essence of the books that came before it, but also incorporates said books into the story. Many of the creatures appearing throughout the movie, such as a scarecrow, the abominable snowman, or Slappy the Dummy, are a real treat for those who poured through the series of novellas.
The overall story is enjoyable for both children and adults alike and views should get a few laugh or surprise fights out of the movies. Yes, it’s somewhat of a silly movie.
Some of the filler cast seem as though they’re pulled out of a made for DVD movie with stilted lines or over acting. You could consider this a self-aware parody of the low-production TV show.
Aside from them, the most of the main cast do a stellar job in their roles and a special kudos goes out to Jack Black for his portrayal of R.L. Stine. The role isn’t supposed to be a perfect mimic of the prolific author, but rather a darker, tortured version of the man.
All of the monsters are brought to life with excellent CGI and costumes, though don’t expect The Lord of the Rings levels of production.
Verdict: Goosebumps is an excellent companion to the book series and recommended to anyone who enjoyed them as a child. While it won’t appeal to everyone, especially those who don’t enjoy “silly” movies, it will entertain those who do. It was never going to be a Hollywood blockbuster.