Author R.L. Stine released the first Goosebumps book “Welcome to Dead House,” in 1992. It was a horror-story written for kids and it launched a series that sold 350 MILLION books worldwide. The Harry Potter books have sold roughly 450 million so it’s a little surprising that it took THIS LONG to release a Goosebumps movie.
Jack Black plays R.L. Stine, but now the author writes magic books that come to life. His snoopy, new neighbor Zach (played by Dylan Minnette), knows that something isn’t right and with the help of his friend Champ (the adorably toothy Ryan Lee from Super 8), he unwittingly unleashes a whole book-series of monsters on a small town.
Adults who see Goosebumps will notice references to scary classics (like Gremlins and any movie where things go south at a high school dance) but they won’t actually be SCARED. That’s part of the plan though since Goosebumps is made for kids. There are a few moments that are genuinely chilling (the attacking garden gnomes come to mind) but nothing that will keep you or the kids up at night.
This might be disappointing for anyone who sees Goosebumps for the scares, but it will be a relief for parents who want to share a scary movie with their kids, but not their bed with them that night. I’m giving Goosebumps a B for parents with younger kids, and a C for anyone else who is looking for scary movies. In fact, you guys should check out Goodnight Mommy or The Visit. If you’re REALLY twisted, go see Green Inferno. I can’t even make it through the trailer for that one!
(Don’t forget that I have free passes to a Goosebumps screening next week! Click HERE for those.)