Goosebumps – Scary Fun for Older Kids and Parents
When I told my boys that I was going to a screening of Goosebumps, the movie version of the popular children’s books, my 10-year-old son said he really wanted to go. I was surprised because he hadn’t read the books and scary ghost stories aren’t his thing. The trailer won him over.
And so did the movie (which was surprising because he’s a tough critic). It won us all over actually. It was a cute, funny reimagining of R.L. Stine’s books. Instead of focusing on telling a story from one book, director Rob Letterman took characters from most of the books. It begins when Zach (Dylan Minnette) and his mom Gale (Amy Ryan) move to a new town after Zach’s dad dies. They live next door to a creepy mansion inhabited by a beautiful teenage girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush) and her angry father, R.L. Stine (Jack Black).
R. L. Stine has a deep, dark secret (along with rage issues) and won’t allow Zach to see Hannah. Zach and his friend Champ (Ryan Lee) try to save her and accidentally release every monster out of Stine’s books including the ringleader, Slappy.
The monsters can be scary for younger kids. And Slappy, a ventriloquist’s dummy, is scary for people of any age. Once all of the books’ monsters are set free, including a werewolf, vampire poodle, zombies, clown, and a giant praying Mantis, they start terrorizing the town.
In order to save the day, Stine along with Zack, Hannah, and Champ have to get everyone to go back into a book. And there is chase scene after chase scene to get them there. In addition to monsters and chase scenes, there’s a lot of little scares that may make kids jump out of their seat. It was a perfect, fun, slightly scary movie for my boys tween and almost tween.
As an adult, it was funnier than I expected. Jack Black was good, but if you’re looking to get more insight into the real R.L. Stine, you won’t get that from his performance. He’s playing an intellectual version of every other comic character he’s ever played. There is a cameo by Stine and according to Jack Black the writer gave his blessing.
Goosebumps opens nationwide today.