‘Goosebumps’ used to terrify me when I was a kid. Anytime we had to do a book report in school it would be the ‘Goosebumps’ books that I would spend the most time looking at due to their brilliant covers but I dare not pick one if I wanted to sleep anytime soon. If the fear of reading the books wasn’t bad enough after school the dreaded TV series awaited me at home as well. Now as a grown man I feel this ‘Goosebumps’ movie has come at the perfect time and it’s finally time to face my fears head on!
I loved the premise for this film as it would have been easy enough to make one of R.L. Stine’s books into a movie on its own but instead a more complete plot has been built here. Having the author in the movie and incorporating all of his monstrous creations into the one story meant that the most fun possible can be had. Fun is the word that best describes this movie, the pace never lets up and the time flies by. It felt like a throwback to the classics like ‘Gremlins’, ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Jumanji’. It captures the fun of these classics whilst bringing a different canon of characters and stories to the big screen. The selection of monsters was good and the right amount of screen time is given to the best ones. The CGI used is very good and you can tell the film is confident in using this as the monsters have plenty of time in clear focus throughout the movie, they are very involved and it’s great that they look the part as much of the films success was going to rely on this. Alongside all the ghosts and ghouls there is much room for comedy and I loved that ‘Goosebumps’ was consistently funny. Whether this was in the form of dialogue, running jokes or more slapstick moments the next laugh was never too far away.
The cast do a great job and they tell this family friendly story well. All the younger actors are likeable and Dylan Minnette, of ‘Prisoners’ & ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day’ fame, shows his potential here to lead films in the future. The big name attached to the film is of course Jack Black. In recent years Black has been struggling to obtain roles of any real excitement, gone were the days of Dewey Finn from ‘School of Rock’ it seemed. Certainly his latest two efforts have been some of the worst of his career, ‘Sex Tape’ and ‘The D-Train’, both making my end of year ‘Worst of’ lists in their respective years. Thank goodness for ‘Goosebumps’ though as Black is back on form and is the best I’ve seen him since ‘Kung Fu Panda’. His comedic acting talent is put to great use here and he really helps to give the film that sense of fun, adventure and comedy. It’s great to see him in another memorable role. My only issue with his performance was the fact that he also voices Slappy, the dummy from one of Stine’s book. I thought it was so obvious that it was Black voicing him that it was a little distracting, I thought maybe another actor would have been a better choice. However as the film goes on and you discover more of the relationship between Stine and Slappy this decision actual starts to make sense and becomes less of an issue. Of course ‘Goosebumps’ is a family friendly movie so expect a certain degree of predictable drama to be included alongside the fun too, it’s not so bad though as it’s rarely drawn out and you can excuse it thanks to the rest of the movie.
‘Goosebumps’ is such a great time at the cinema, I’d recommend it to everyone. All the performances lend themselves very well to this story and it’s so enjoyable to see Black on form again. The monster mayhem never lets up and you won’t be bored for a second. With plenty of laughs to be had too I can see myself revisiting this one for years to come.
Rating – 8/10
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