The story centers on Jack Black who stars as R.L. Stine, the famous author of the Goosebumps novels although this film is not a biography. It’s a fantasy film for the whole family, and the film excels at that one hundred percent even though it might be a little scary for young kids. It’s however the perfect family movie to watch around Halloween.
The film follows teenager Zack Cooper (Dylan Minette) who moves into town with his mom (Amy Ryan) and happen to befriend his neighbor Hannah (Odeya Rush) who he learns is the daughter of R.L. Stine, writer of the famous Goosebumps novels and that his monsters all come to life that he created when he was a kid if they are being let out of his locked books. The monsters led by the dummy villain Slappy unleash hell on the town and it’s up to Zack, Hannah and R.L. Stine to stop them.
This movie is a family friendly film, and I what mean by that is that it’s mostly targeted for younger kids but adults can actually go into this film and be entertained for two hours. It’s not a masterpiece by any means, but I was enjoyed myself watching this movie. It’s also geared towards the people who grew up with the show and read the books when they we’re kids, and I think that these people are going to be satisfied. I never read Goosebumps but I remember watching some of the episodes when I was a kid. I am a more Stephen King reader, who is my favorite author (there is a nice gag about how R.L. Stine is constantly compared to Stephen King, and although Stephen King is generally more respected, the Goosebumps books have sold more than King’s novels).
The film is actually smart and has some heart to it. Jack Black is really good as R.L. Stine even though he looks nothing like the guy. I’ve always liked Jack Black even though he’s made some pretty bad movies throughout his career.
The rest of the cast does its job. Dylan Minette who was good in Prisoners, is good as the main kid and has a lot of charisma and his chemistry with Odeya Rush is pretty good. It’s not the best love story ever made, but it does its job.
The CGI wasn’t great, but it’s a movie done for kids, so they couldn’t make the monsters really scary so it’s understandable. The creature designs we’re cool and the most terrifying of them was the leader of the monsters, the dummy Scrappy, who is really creepy.
The tone is also a bit all over the place, sometimes there will be a tense moment, and there will be a random thing that happens like for example the crew is being chased by a werewolf in a grocery store, and the awkward kid stops to pick and choose himself a coke. It felt out of place and really forced and didn’t flow with the rest of the film.
The ending is also a bit rushed, and it’s a bit unbelievable, without spoiling anything, like a character has to do something in a short amount of time, and it just is impossible.
Overall, Goosebumps is boosted by Jack Black’s fun performance and the kid’s great chemistry and is a fun time at the movies for both kids and adults.