Goosebumps is the big screen adaptation of R.L. Stine’s children’s book series of the same name. Instead of picking out a particular title, Sony Pictures Entertainment, backing the movie with $58 million budget chose to go all out and created a single story concept that encompassed all of the characters in all of the books. I’m glad to say that the studio and the filmmakers were able to make something good out of it.
Zach (Dylan Minette) moves to Delaware with his mom, who takes on a job as the new vice principal of a local high school a year after his father died. Here, he and meets his pretty but mysterious neighbor Hannah (Odeya Rush). While Hannah seems friendly enough, Zach feels that Hannah’s weird overprotective dad Mr. Shivers (Jack Black) may be hiding something dark. Fearing that Hannah may be in trouble, he breaks into their house with the aid of his new buddy Champ (Ryan Lee) and in the process, accidentally unleashes a whole host of monsters and ghosts that were trapped in the books in Mr. Shivers’s study.
Goosebumps is a pretty popular kids’ series. I read R.L. Stine’s Fear Street when I was a teenager and he has a great writing style. Not too dark but still suspenseful. Goosebumps was a good read for kids because despite being of a horror genre, there was a sense of adventure in the books and a wholesomeness that was very much part of the movie.
I liked Dylan Minette when I first saw him in Alexander the Horrible… because there was a certain charm to this kid — he can play a cool devil may care teen but also be a goofy, charming, lovestruck young man when the role calls for it. He has great comedic timing too which makes him a great fit for the lead role. Odeya Rush is such a cutie. She’s adorable and looks a lot like a young version of Mila Kunis. She also has an air of innocence and toughness about her that makes audiences believe that she can fight off monsters should she choose to set her mind to it. And Ryan Lee as Champ was totally hilarious. Half of the time he was on screen, he managed to screw up one thing or the other but because he was so funny, audiences will feel compelled to forgive him.
I was initially confused and distracted about what accent Jack Black was gunning for but eventually I got used to it. And as usual, he did his Jack Black thing with the role which wasn’t a big surprise.
Fans of the series will get a kick out of seeing their favorite monsters come to life, whether they be big or small. The CGI wasn’t perfect but it was workable enough given the volume of characters that needed to be animated. I liked Slappy, who was also voiced by Jack Black as the main villain. He had that look about him that made him right at home being the ring leader of a monster revolution/revenge plot. And oh, watch out for the a cameo from the real R.L. Stine towards the end of the movie.
All in all, the movie was a lot of fun. It was fast paced, had a lot of charming characters, a pretty solid story that didn’t overcomplicate things more than they should. Its a fan service to readers of the series but at the same time, it speaks about dealing with loneliness and letting go of bitterness — a cool family movie.