Aside from dominating the box office for its opening weekend and giving October a much- needed boost, “Goosebumps” brought magic with an average screenplay and vivid special effects. While heavy on CGI, director Rob Letterman encompassed the “Goosebumps” novels well by bringing them to life, literally.
The film features the author himself, R.L. Stine (played by Jack Black), as an overprotective, mysterious and single father of Hannah (Odeya Rush). And by the way, the real Stine made a cameo in the movie. In the small town of Madison, Delaware, Stine is hiding from his past and keeps it put away on a bookshelf under lock and key.
Zach Connor (Dylan Minnette) stars as new neighbor to the Stine family, and gets himself in a predicament when he breaks into the mysterious house with help from his goofy new friend Champ (Ryan Lee) and accidentally unleashes every monster Stine has ever created. “The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena,” “The Werewolf of Fever Swamp,” “Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes” and “The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight” are unleashed, just to name a few.
Of course these monsters are no comparison to the mastermind, “Slappy The Dummy” (also played by Black) from the “Night of the Living Dummy” series. Slappy unleashes the rest of the monsters and leads them on a quest to destroy the town and Stine.
Rob Letterman focused so much on the CGI that much of the story was lost in visual effects. Apart from a few scenes of genuine emotion and flirtation between Zach and Hannah, the movie is full of action packed sequences and one or two plot twists Stine himself would be proud of.
Jack Black, hands down, excels at this role, from his hilarious accent to his eccentric facial expressions; he encompasses the emotional, creepy and serious side that one would expect Stine to have.
Aside from strictly being about action, the movie does have quite a screenplay thanks to Darren Lemke, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. Scenes feature Zach and Hanna falling for each other and even Stine and Zach’s Aunt Lorraine (Jillian Bell) have a weird crush thing going on. A big portion of the movie was dedicated to the notion of Stine being emotional about his books. When he was younger, he was bullied and writing these books was the only thing he had; mixed with emotion, this is what brought the magic on the pages to life.
His creations turn on him and his family and they must all work together to stop them. With only a few possibly “jumpy” parts, this movie is dedicated to the audience of 16 year olds and younger. It was most definitely a kids movie with the scare factor being minimal.
Anna Ashcraft is The Arts Editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org