Based on the books by R.L Stine, director Rob Letterman brings the monsters from the books to life in this film.
Teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) moves to a small town from New York city with his mother, and he’s not all too keen about moving away. Once moved in, Zach meets his new neighbour Hannah (Odeya Rush). He is immediately intrigued by her. However, Hannah’s father warns Zach to stay away from her, which only makes Zach more curious.
Hannah’s father is R.L Stine (Jack Black) himself, but hides away in this small town, shielding his identity.
Zach becomes suspicious about Hannah’s father and fears she may be in danger. He goes next door to Hannah’s house with his friend Champ (Ryan Lee). They discover a bookshelf of ‘Goosebumps’ Manuscripts by R.L. Stine. After opening the first book, The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena jumps out and chases Zach and Champ, which has them screaming for their lives.
The rest of the books are then opened by the evil and cunning Dummy from R.L. Stine’s book ‘Night of the Living Dummy’. R.L. Stine (Hannah’s father) tries to stop the Dummy he created from releasing all the Goosebumps’ characters from the books but he is too powerful. Hannah, Zach, Champ and R.L Stine are now on a mission to stop the characters from destroying their town, which is the Dummy’s plan.
In comparison to R.L. Stine’s books, I have to say this film was a disappointment. Reading his books as a child was terrifying at times. However, the film doesn’t follow the scare-factor from the books very well and relies more on the computer effects to make it scary.
Reading a new ‘Goosebumps’ book as a child was always the highlight of my week. The characters were truly brought to life and they sparked the horror fanatic in me. The film is PG, so it wasn't supposed to be terrifying but compared to the books it undoubtedly wasn't scary. The books painted a vivid picture of the hair-raising monsters. The movie, however, relies more on humour and CGI, which is not what the books are about. It makes me quite sad to think the current generation of kids get an incredible story like 'Goosebumps' turned into something inadequate, while we got Tim Burton's classic, 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'.
In saying that the movie relies too much on CGI, the CGI used on the monsters in this film really is incredible. Visually, I can’t fault the movie. A kid seeing these CGI monsters would be blown away, even if the movie itself was bad.
Jack Black was the only thing that made the movie bearable for me to watch. He brought with him his natural humour and excellently portrayed a man secluded from the ‘real’ world. I didn’t find any other character to stand-out.
A good and exciting watch for kids, but lacks the universal factor so that younger adults too can watch their favourite books from the 90s be successfully adapted to screen.