PG | 103 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
Review - Matt Mungle
**In theaters October 16, 2015**
Synopsis: A teenager teams up with the daughter of young adult horror author R.L. Stine after the writer's imaginary demons are set free on the town of Greendale, Maryland.
Review: GOOSEBUMPS could be the most entertaining film you and the family can see in the theater in October. Regardless if you have read the popular book series or if you go in with no prior connection the story and performances will be just as fun and fanciful. Jack Black may have to one day admit that he has a knack for creating endearing, funny, family friendly characters. Here he gives a beloved author flesh and blood without ever leaving the Jack Black mold.
Teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) is not too happy about moving to Greendale Maryland. It means making new friends, readjustments, and adapting to small town life. When he meets Hannah (Odeya Rush), the cute girl next door, things start looking up. But only for a moment. Then he meets her father (Jack Black). It immediately becomes very apparent to Zach that things in the Stine household are far from normal; or even safe. Things go from bad to worse when Zach and Hannah accidentally release some very bad monsters who only her dad can control.
Fans of the book series will obviously love seeing some of their favorite and scariest creations come to life on the big screen. Those unfamiliar with R.L Stein and his Goosebumps books will get to meet them for the first time. So it is a win win for both audiences. The movie doesn't try and water down the premise or make a thin scripted thriller. The effects are top notch and at times the demonic apparitions are quite scary. It is full of action and adventure as Zach, Hannah, and their reluctant comrade Champ (Ryan Lee) try and help Mr. Stine capture these beasts before the whole town is destroyed.
The meanest character on the loose is Slappy the Dummy (voiced by Avery L Jones) and if you are the least bit freaked out by a ventriloquist's dummy then this one will give you adult sized goosebumps. He is overly creepy and the perfect fodder for late night frights. Luckily the majority of the film is hilariously funny and action packed. This is a good balance for the family movie genre.
The cast of this film also aid in its success. As mentioned Black has the ability to be serious and at times angry and still have it come across as fun and endearing. His facial expressions and mannerisms are perfect for this type of character. Sure it can be said that he is the same in most films but if it works, it works. And here it most certainly works. Minnette and Rush are both super cute and have a solid on screen vibe. Ryan Lee is the scene stealer in this one though as the geeky, awkward Champ. Lee will have you laughing so hard at his attempts to be cool and brave. We have all known a "Champ" and it was a delight to watch this character on screen.
GOOSEBUMPS is rated PG for scary and intense creature action and images, and for some rude humor. This is a fair rating but do be advised that the images and some of the creatures are very frightening. Older kids will be able to handle it just fine but I am not sure I would use this as the first introduction of a movie outing to your very young family members. If they have read the books, maybe. Just be aware that the imagery is not toned down even though the rest of the content is family friendly. I give it 4 out of 5 keyholes. I have never read one of the books but consider myself a fan now, just because of how much fun this movie is.