In case you didn’t know, Goosebumps is a series of children’s horror fiction novellas by American author R. L. Stine. From 1992 to 1997, 62 books were published and I did not read a single one. So, I will approach this movie just like any other, without warm and fuzzy feelings about my early teen years. A time when everything was so much better and yet at the same time also so much worse. First of all, I should tell you that Goosebumps is not a scary movie. This is wholesome entertainment for the entire family, so don’t go into it expecting a lot of gore and blood.
What you can expect is a great performance from Jack Black, along with awesome special effects and a pretty standard-issue story. To us, adults, the whole thing feels very thin and without those effects and supernatural vibe, this would be a rather dull affair. I just remembered Gulliver’s Travels, another movie starring Jack Black and featuring a lot of the same elements as Goosebumps. Unfortunately, Travels were just too crappy to be considered as something worth watching, but his latest escapade in this genre is (barely). Jack’s over-the-top performance was perfect for the surreal atmosphere of the movie, making it more appealing.
Zach is just another teenager going through some stuff in his life. He just moved to a new town and immediately figured out that there’s a hot girl next door. Her name is Hannah and her father is a famous book author R.L. Stine. Soon Zach starts seeing strange things going on in his neighbor’s house but this will be nothing compared to things he will unleash when he decides to see what’s going on inside…
What kind of pleasure can an adult draw from this movie is the question we should be asking. You can always space out like I did and enjoy the lavish scenes with oversized monsters. Or you can ponder about your own childhood and how things were back then. This is because there are a lot of problems here. Goosebumps is at times franticly fast and yet it transitions to excruciatingly slow sections quickly and without much explanation. Maybe because I was waiting for fights and monsters and not stretched out dialogues and lame humor. And waiting for them in vain as this movie is based on a series of children’s books.
At this point, I am actually wondering whether this should be just another rant about a bad movie. However, there’s a time and a place for everything, and I am sure that one lazy Sunday afternoon you might decide to check out this flick.
Director: Rob Letterman
Writer: Darren Lemke, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, R.L. Stine
Cast: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Ryan Lee, Amy Ryan, Jillian Bell
Fun Facts: Tim Burton was originally going to produce the film in 1998, and was attached to it. However, the project fell through.