“Goosebumps” was my favorite book series as a tween and I was overjoyed to see a new creative approach to these characters. Unlike the tv series which brought abridged versions of each story to the screen in their own episode, this film pits the character of R.L. Stine against all of his monsters. As their creator, he is obviously the best candidate to capture them when the monsters get out. Unfortunately, Jack Black in a PG-rated movie does not typically indicate an adult appeal. But that is why you should forget everything that you know: “Goosebumps” is a fantastic film for all ages! Whether you’ve read the books or not, the story makes complete sense without an R.L. Stine knowledge base. If you have read the books, you are in for a treat as you encounter dozens upon dozens of these favorite troublemakers. From the Abominable Snowman of Pasadena and the lawn gnomes (Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes) to Slappy (Night of the Living Dummy) and the subtle reference to The Cuckoo Clock of Doom, the whole film is a delight. Most of all, the tone of the film is perfectly on par with Stine’s novels (especially the twists). The screenwriters really nailed this script, especially the family-friendly humor that is just as funny to adults as it is to kids. Officer Brooks, the police officer-in-training played by Amanda Lund, is particularly hilarious. And Jack Black plays his role perfectly as he delivers his comedy within the confines of a serious character. Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, and Ryan Lee act beyond the expectation of teen actors and Amy Ryan adds another big name to draw in an audience. Obviously this film’s zany plot isn’t the stuff that Oscars are made of, but it is rather impressive for a family comedy. The special effects are well-developed and the plot seamlessly ties together all of the classic characters without seeming forced. I really can’t say anything bad about it. “Goosebumps” is perfect for any family movie night, even if you don’t have kids!
[Pictured: Great special effects and wonderful comedic acting - this film was great!]