“Goosebumps” is a film inspired by the childrens’ books written by R.L. Stine. The film is, in a way, in the same vein as “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare,” since R.L. Stine (Black) is actually a character who has to face his own creations.
The movie follows Zach (Minnette), a teen moving to a new city because of his mother getting a new job. As he gets settled into his new home, he meets Hannah (Rush), a teen living next door whom he befriends. He comes to find out, though, that her father actually is Stine. Stine right away comes off as frightening and things go from bad to worse when it’s discovered that his novels can come to life when they open.
The biggest knock to “Goosebumps” is that it feels quite predictable through most of the run time. The first half is a typical teenage coming of age story and the second half plays out more or less like an amusement park. Basically a monster shows up and the heroes have to try and escape and move on to the next.
It isn’t to say there’s no fun to be had in this new spooky flick. The movie is entertaining, it doesn’t overstay its welcome by being too lengthy and is a fun Halloween thriller for youth.
Speaking of youth, the actors playing the teen leads were pretty solid. Minnette who has quite a bit of TV experience works as the movie’s protagonist and he had some fun chemistry with co-performers Odeya Rush and Ryan Lee.
In the biggest role was Black playing the real author R.L. Stine and the performance definitely had its ups and downs. On the one hand, Black certainly brings energy to his roles and this was no exception. In some of the thrilling scenes, he does offer some good fun. At the same time, though, he does overplay the part a bit too much in some scenes.
Fans of the many books that have been written by Stine should enjoy seeing some of their favorite villains on screen, however, the movie could have benefited from the overall atmosphere being creepier.
“Goosebumps” is certainly a fun and exciting time at the theater and can keep families engaged. However, the film was a bit too predictable and fans of the books may have a few disappointments. 3 out of 5.