Movie Review: GOOSEBUMPS (2015) – Fun for Kids. Fun for fans. Not so much for adults
‘Goosebumps’ is a Family Adventure/Comedy based on the popular series of books from the 90’s written by R.L Stine. In the film, all of the iconic Goosebumps monsters escape from their books and unleash their terror on the world. Now Zach (Dylan Minnette), the new kid in town must team up with R.L Stein (Jack Black) himself and his daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush) to put the evil back where it belongs. I loved the Goosebumps books, they were so scary and entertaining and when i had nothing to read, i’d just crack open ‘Night of the Living Dummy’ or ‘Scarecrow Walks at Midnight’ and treat myself to a good scare. This film brings these monsters to life and although they don’t get as dark as they do in the books, the way the film manages to balance being kid friendly and quite spooky was really cool. I found this film overall quite entertaining, the characters were mostly very likeable, the plot of the film was actually quite interesting and there were some mildly funny moments here and there. But there were some things that weren’t that great.
Lets get the bad out of the way. The film i thought went for a generic cop-out when it came to the first 20 minutes of this film, the setup. I felt like i had seen the exact same scenario played out over and over again in hundreds of films, it was like they took this section from every other film and plopped it in front of a Goosebumps movie. Move to a new house, new school, meet the girl and then begins the movie…. i know it’s keeping it simple for the kiddies but they could at least look like they tried. My biggest gripe with the film however was one of the secondary characters, Champ, played by Ryan Scott Lee… my god this character was infuriating, he was a complete waste of space, and way too much time was spent on his completely unfunny scenes. He was seriously 100% useless in the entire film, i don’t know why he was even there, he wasn’t funny, wasn’t needed and just made me angry every time he opened his mouth. Right from the moment you first see him you know you’re going to hate this kid, and you do. The film would have been SO much better without him, he just sucked the enjoyment out of the film the whole time.
One other thing i was disappointed with but was rather unavoidable was the fact that you don’t really get to fully experience more than like 3-5 of Stine’s monsters. You get a lot of cameo appearances from the monsters but only 3-5 are featured for a large chunk of the film. I guess when you have hundreds of monsters it is hard to fit them all in one movie so you can’t hold it against the film too much. But hey, seeing Slappy the Dummy on the big screen was great, and he is just as scary as in the books, so i guess that was worth it.
The overall plot of the film was really entertaining and managed to keep me interested the whole way through. When i first heard about the synopsis of the film i thought it was a genius idea, and i just hoped that it didn’t turn out to suck. But it really worked, it had its fair share of surprises and ‘twists’ and was hands down a very fun movie to watch. Even the main characters i really liked and i thought the performances were all very well done, from the main 3 characters that is. It isn’t often where i get to say i really liked Jack Black’s performance but in this film i really liked his version of R.L Stine. It was fun, quirky and fit with the tone of the film so that was really well done. There isn’t really much else to say about this film as you should know what you’re getting into by now.
So despite some major and some relatively minor grievances the film holds up quite well and is an entertaining family film that appeals more to kids and fans of the books than it does to adults.