Growing up as a kid, R.L Stine’s Goosebumps series was just about the only thing I read. For me, no other book could provide that perfect balance between a silly yet intriguing premise while also being wildly entertaining and engaging to read. Plus, each book was like a 100-120 pages long which satisfied my reading capability for that time.
So when I heard a Goosebumps movie was in production, I was quietly excited because even though I expected to feel the nostalgia rekindled within me, I didn’t expect the director of Gulliver’s Travels, no less to do anything particularly great with the film.
Much to the surprise of me, and many others, Goosebumps is actually very good, and not even in a goofy, so bad-it’s-good way, which it easily could have been.
Instead of concentrating on a particular Goosebumps story, the film is set in present day and follows the story of this teenage kid, Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) who is upset about him and his mom moving to small town from a big city. Zach finds a silver lining when he meets his beautiful neighbor Hannah (Odeya Rush) who he quickly becomes friends with. However, much to Zach’s surprise, Hannah is actually the daughter of R.L Stine (Jack Black), the mysterious author of the Goosebumps books. When Zach accidentally unleashes the monsters from the fantastic tales, it’s up to Stine, his daughter and Cooper to return the beasts back to the books where they belong.
Now as I’ve already mentioned, Goosebumps is very, very good and the reason that happens is because everything works so well. The humor is easily one of the best things about the film, it’s genuinely funny, while also being meta and self-referential in the best way.
It also happens to be increasingly entertaining and enjoyable movie which moves at a frenetic pace, but above all, it has the heart and the humor to appeal to all ages. I do think it’s a great family film and you don’t necessarily have to be a fan of, or even be familiar with the books to see the movie. It stands on it’s own quite well.
In fact that would be my only problem, that it doesn’t bring enough of the book’s iconic characters to the screen but where the film fails to deliver with its monsters, it makes up for, with its characters, and the performances also happen to be quite fine. Jack Black is easily the best thing about the movie playing gives an exaggerated version of R.L Stine, but all the child actors do just as well.
All in all, the Goosebumps movie is easily one of the biggest surprises of the year for me. Its’ really fun with some genuine heart and humor. It flows very well and while you don’t have to be a fan of the books to like the film, it certainly helps if you are.