Viewer, beware, you’re in for a scare! It’s clichéd, derivative and brings nothing new to the table but I can’t say I didn’t have a blast of nostalgia watching Goosebumps.
If you have seen Gremlins, The monster squad or especially Hocus Pocus then you have practically seen Goosebumps yet it still delivers on that energy only a fantasy film like that can give; a sense of discovery in the intriguing monsters and an un-relenting pace that provides a perfectly satisfying hour and a half film. I have never been a huge fan of the Goosebumps novels or TV show (mostly due to a fear of everything till I was too old for them) but this new spin still left me excited when I saw the classic monsters brought to life in admittedly average visual effects, with Slappy the dummy standing out as the primary antagonist.
All of the young actors give their best efforts for what are essentially stock characters, with Ryan Lee possessing a perfect look and scream to rival that of Ron Weasly as the cowardly friend, but it is Jack Black who steals the show once again, having great fun hamming it up as author RL Stine. Though he sometimes took me out of the movie with his..Jack..Blackiness, the character of Stine was nonetheless entertaining and believable as an outcast. I am also thankful that director Rob Letterman kept the lazy jump scares to a minimum, instead adding horror through the creepy atmosphere and tone, as well as some key aesthetic choices like the unique movement of the gnomes.
However, the film does suffer in its logic, with a suitably emotional explanation behind the mystery falling a bit flat when you stop to think about it: however Goosebumps isn’t really a film to logically ponder about – just switch off and enjoy the ride.
While its in no way original, Goosebumps is still an exciting throwback that is worth the price of admission.