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Goosebumps (2015)

Goosebumps

Director:
Rob Letterman

Starring:
Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Ryan Lee, Amy Ryan

Other notable appearances:
R.L. Stine

Running time:
103 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
Scooby Doo, Jumanji, Night at the Museum

 

Zach (Minnette) is the new kid in Madison, Delaware when he and his mother move there to start a new life after his father’s death. He quickly makes friends with his quirky neighbour Hannah (Rush) despite warnings from her overprotective father.

When Zack thinks he hears Hannah being attacked by her father, he and his new friend Champ (Lee) go to Hannah’s house to investigate. There they find Hannah safe along with several notebooks by YA horror author R.L. Stine.

After opening one of the notebooks and releasing the Abominable Snowman of Pasadena, Zack and Champ realise that Hannah’s father is in fact YA horror author R.L. Stine. They manage to get the Abominable Snowman of Pasadena tamed, but during the kerfuffle another book is opened. Someone else is on the loose. Someone hellbent on revenge. Someone who is … no dummy.

I grew up reading the Goosebump books and they were my stepping stones to adult horror. I had all of them and read then reread them on a regular basis. So, naturally, I was thrilled when I heard there was going to be a Goosebumps movie.

Goosebumps did not disappoint. All of the old gang were there! The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena; the giant praying mantises from A Shocker on Shock Street; the evil lawn gnomes; the Werewolf of Fever Swamp; the Blob That Ate Everyone; and my personal favourite, Slappy. The psychotic ventriloquist dummy from the Night of the Living Dummy books.

Minnette, Rush and Lee were all very entertaining in their roles as Zach, Hannah and Champ respectively.

The star of the film was undoubtedly Jack Black though. No, dear reader, not just because he has top billing. Black’s performance is cheesy and over the top without becoming grating. Though Black spends a lot of the film’s beginning with short appearances, he remains the main attraction in any scene he appears. Well … maybe with the exception of the talking dummy (also voiced by Black) and homicidal lawn gnomes.

The plot of Goosebumps is outlandish, ridiculous and very entertaining. At 103 minutes, I never felt that Goosebumps had overstayed its welcome nor did I feel that the film left anything unsaid or unanswered. This film could easily have gone on for too long by shining the spotlight on too many of R.L. Stine’s creations but this did not happen. It was a tightly run ship, despite all of the creepy crawlies running around.

Speaking of R.L. Stine, keep an eye out for his cameo. It made me chuckle.

While we’re on the topic of laughs, there are a lot of references in Goosebumps comparing R.L. Stine to Stephen King. These are wonderful little homages that made this King fangirl laugh aloud. The way that these nods to the master of horror are woven into the story is just brilliant.

I can’t overstate how much fun Goosebumps is. The film takes b-grade cheese, mixes it with the excitement and thrills found in a good quality animated film then adds a dash of great special effects to taste. If you’re in the mood for a movie packed with silly fun and more monsters than you can poke a stick at, then this one is not to be missed.

Though what are you doing poking sticks at monsters? Seriously, you should stop that.

Rating: 4/5

“You know how they say teenagers have no fear of death? That they’re never gonna get hurt? Well not me, okay? I was born with the gift of fear.”

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