Goosebumps Movie (2015)
Directed by Rob Letterman
Based on stories by R.L. Stine
Music by Danny Elfman
In the mid-1990s Goosebumps was a television show for youngsters that liked horror, but were not necessarily able to handle adult horror flicks. My daughter loved the series and soon found interest in the book series of the same name. The plots were simple and the storylines predictable, but that didn’t hinder the enjoyment of the show for my daughter or her parents, myself and my wife. We engaged in the tales becoming familiar with Carlie-Beth and the Mask, Slappy the ventriloquist dummy, the Snowman of Pasadena, and many more wonderful stories and characters of the show.
We finally watched the Goosebumps Movie with equal parts excitement and trepidation. We’ve read some bad reviews of the film, but wanted to watch it for nostalgic entertainment. The film took a full 26 minutes before anything remotely Goosebumps related happened. The characters were cardboard cut outs with little depth, the kind that we’ve seen so many times in many other films. The plot was simple but decent enough. I think the problem with the film was they were trying to reach both the parents and the children at the same time. This is something Disney has perfected but many other filmmakers struggle with. The kids that grew up watching the show or reading the books weren’t engaged by the characters and the mature jokes and aspects were too watered down to create impact with adults.
That being said, the monsters were fantastic and portrayed in usual Goosebumps fashion, somewhere between comical and monstrous. The action was fast-paced and at a higher level than the TV Show. The giant praying mantis was intense and being a giant monster fan, my favorite part of the film. The abominable snow man, the werewolf, and fan favorite, Slappy, all added nostalgic value to the film. The scary garden gnomes added comedic aspects. The film moved along at a fast pace, helped by a wonderfully exciting score by Danny Elfman. Sure the film was predictable, simplistic and delivered mild horror entertainment, but the TV show fits that same description. I think the film was at the same level as the show, but perhaps some viewers were expecting more. All said, it delivered light horror entertainment and that’s all I expected so I wasn’t disappointed.
I give it 3.2 fictional frights on the maniacal monster mash-up movie scale.
Dylan Minnette and Ryan Lee had both appeared on the TV series, R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour (2010).
In the film Stine complains he has sold more books than Stephen King which is true. King sold 350+ million books and R.L. Stine sold over 400 million books.
The real R.L. Stine makes a cameo in the film near the end when Jack Black introduces him as a new teacher, Mr. Black. (so RL Stine played Mr. Black, and Jack Black played Mr. Stine)
The high school auditorium has a set where the theater class had been rehearsing a stage production of Stephen King’s “The Shining.” How cool is that!