In Goosebumps we get to see the monsters created by author R.L. Stine in his book series brought to life for the big screen, full of scary monsters and an evil ventriloquist dummy that seems to take its inspiration from the 1945 movie Dead of Night.
That’s not the only movie reference which may seem familiar with any of the older audiences that are made to see this. There is a kitchen scene, full of killer Gnomes on the loose which is reminiscent to that of Gremlins which is highly entertaining to watch just for the comedy value alone. Setting aside the subtle references to movies past, Goosebumps is bound to be a favourite with a certain age range of teenage girls.
When Zach (Dylan Minnette) moves into town, next door to his mysterious neighbour Stine (Jack Black) things take a turn for the unexpected. Befriending his daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush) Stine see’s red and warns Zach to stay away. After thinking Stine has done something to Hannah, Zach breaks into the house to see if she is OK and stumbles on Stines collection of books, all with locks on. Curiosity gets the better of him and after opening one of the books unleashes the abominable snowman. From here the story rapidly progresses as one by one all the books are opened and the monsters are left to run riot all over town while Stine, Zach and Hannah run around town trying to do all they can to round up the monsters.
This is where the problem lies, instead of developing the story and giving us an in-depth background of our characters the pace of the film seems to be like a speeding bullet. From approximately 20 minutes into the film, the story becomes a bit of a blur making it feel rushed almost like it has a desire to quickly be over. Nothing of any real importance happens, we have a touch of romance between Zach and Hannah but the rest of the movie is just one long chase scene.
The visual effects will scare the life out of children of a young age and will make the sensitive more jumpy adult sit up and take notice but when it came’s to the cast Jack Black seems to have toned down his normal comedy stance which this film is missing. Nothing seems to rile him and he is full of his own self-belief with a moody streak. Whilst Dylan Minnette and Odeya Rush are still young and obviously still developing their craft you can’t help but look at them as teenage versions of Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis.
Goosebumps is out in UK Cinema’s 5th February