Goosebumps Film Review

Film Review by Saskia Donnell

The Premise
Upset about moving from a big city to a small town, teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) finds a silver lining when he meets the beautiful girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush), living right next door. But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach's comes when he learns that Hannah has a mysterious dad who is revealed to be R. L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series. It turns out that there is a reason why Stine is so strange... he is a prisoner of his own imagination - the monsters that his books made famous are real, and Stine protects his readers by keeping them locked up in their books. When Zach unintentionally unleashes the monsters from their manuscripts and they begin to terrorize the town, it's suddenly up to Stine, Zach, Hannah, and Zach's friend Champ (Ryan Lee) to get all of them back in the books where they belong.

The Review
The opening music, while not the same, was definitely reminiscent of the Goosebumps TV show and it was a promising start! Zach and his Mum were immediately presented as very likeable, down to earth and relatable characters with a strong relationship and troubled past (no moody teenagers here folks!). Soon joined by a quirky Aunt, a goofy best friend and a mysterious girl next door (who looks like the result of Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz somehow having a child), and it was away!

At times it was hard to see past the fact that Jack Black is…well…Jack Black. He’s definitely not bringing anything new to the table as R.L Stine, but of course, delivers on the laughs. In fact, all the actors seemed to be able to step up to the plate on that one! They helped the film flow seamlessly between hilarity and freakiness without anything feeling jarring or forced.

Now for me the main reason I was keen to see Goosebumps was witnessing all my fav book characters brought to life on the big screen! Slappy (voiced by Jack Black) was just as creepy and crazy as I’d pictured him in the books and he made the perfect villain. Only a few other monsters were actually featured in any kind of significant way and the rest you could try to spot in a few crowd shots which was a little disappointing because none of them really got to act like themselves.

Now I’m not going to start poking holes in the plot (there’s quite a few to be poked) or dwell on the occasional cheesy line or painful joke, because come on guys, this is a family flick! Kids were already spouting movie quotes in creepy voices outside the cinema bathrooms as I was leaving. “You forgot about meeeee” will be echoing around primary schools for weeks to come I’m sure! 

The Verdict
A hilarious and ultimately uplifting watch for the whole family (if they’re aged over 8 or not scared easily)! A definite must-see for any adult fan of the Goosebumps series who’s in the mood for a good dose of nostalgia, a good laugh and a few frights. Be prepared to leave your plot-hole-spotting hat at home and just sit back and enjoy! Watch out for the real R.L.Stine’s cameo – it’s cute!

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 3rd December 2015
Rating: PG – Contains scary scenes
Duration: 103 minutes 
Genre:  Fantasy
Starring: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush
Director: Rob Letterman (Travels, Monsters V Aliens)

The Extras
Tim Burton was originally going to produce the film in 1998, and was attached to it. However, the project fell through.

The only "monster" characters in the film with spoken lines (Slappy the ventriloquist dummy and the invisible boy) are both voiced by Jack Black.

During the 1990s, George A. Romero was hired to adapt the book series into a single film and even finished a draft.

A member of the marketing team commented on the first Goosebumps poster, saying that the marketing team wanted to make the poster unique, yet pay homage to the original television series. This explains why the poster uses a unique blue and gold coloring, along with the "Goosebumps" logo being yellow.

Had to briefly delay filming in certain areas of New Orleans, LA in April 2014 due to the ongoing WWE Wrestlemania XXX festivities.

A portion of the movie was filmed in the small town of Madison, GA. This town was voted best small town in America and is a big spot for filming in recent years.

In real life, R.L. Stine has a son named Matthew.