Review: Goosebumps

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PLOT: After escaping from their manuscript prisons, monsters based on the books by R.L. Stine begin to terrorize the community of Greendale, Maryland. It is up to Stine, his daughter and her teenage friends to stop them before everyone becomes a victim in a Goosebumps book.

REVIEW: As a fan of horror, and someone who wasn’t fully in the know of R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps” series of books. The idea was a pleasant one. Scary stories for the younger generation always puts a smile on my face. So when I walked into the feature film version of GOOSEBUMPS with Jack Black, I was completely open to the experience. And while this is certainly geared for families, it has enough humor and heart for anybody in the mood for an early Halloween treat. With a ton of sort of scary creatures, and a despicable dummy that terrorizes a young man named Zach (Dylan Minnette) and friends, there is definite enjoyment to be had.

Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) lives with his mom (the incredibly talented Amy Ryan) in the suburban town of Greendale, Maryland. When a mysterious new neighbor arrives, a creepy fellow played by Jack Black, and his charming daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush), Zach is desperate to get to know the girl. Yet after sneaking into the haunted seeming house, Zach and his buddies find a series of “Goosebumps” books carefully locked away. When one of them is accidentally opened, it starts to unleash a real life monster. And suddenly, all the beasts that have been locked away are helping their terrifying pals escape from the manuscript prisons they were entrapped in. It is up to Zach, Hannah and Black - who portrays a fictionalized R.L. Stine  -to save the day.

Jack Black truly enjoys going just a little over-the-top and he does it perfectly well as writer/madman Stine. His is having a blast here, and he works especially well with the younger cast. In the lead, Dylan Minnette is quickly becoming one to watch. The young actor is especially good in the family features he has been a part of, this as well as ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY. This is a terrific cast, with a few familiar faces. Amy Ryan is great - although very underused - and Ken Marino shows up for a bit as well. The filmmakers have assembled a solid cast for a family flick, but the real stars are the beasts that terrorize them.

If you are familiar with Goosebumps, you’ll probably find a ton of familiar monsters. While the effects are nowhere near some of the bigger budgets that you may be accustomed to, they are still pretty impressive. The Abominable Snowman may have a few young audience members squirming. You also have mutant insects, a werewolf and living garden gnomes who are more adorable than scary. The creepiest Stine creation is Slappy the Dummy simply because a talking dummy can be really spooky. Also voiced by Black, this little guy is the main villain and probably the best of the bunch.

Directed by Rob Letterman, GOOSEBUMPS is a fun time at the movies. If you like horror, but you desire something to bring the family to, this is not a bad choice. Dylan Minnette is a charismatic lead, and of course Mr. Black is having a blast playing R.L. Stine. Clearly there is no gore, and the scares are pretty light, but it is a fun adventure that relishes in a slightly darker undercurrent of horror than you’d expect from a family film. The effects are pretty good and the story - with a script by Darren Lemke - is creative and fun. It may take awhile to really get moving but once it does, GOOSEBUMPS is an entertaining take on the R.L. Stine’s popular books.

Source: JoBlo.com



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