Goosebumps (2015)

Goosebumps (2015)
  • Time: 103 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Comedy
  • Director: Rob Letterman
  • Cast: Odeya Rush, Ella Wahlestedt, Jack Black, Dylan Minnette


Upset about moving from a big city to a small town, teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) finds a silver lining when he meets the beautiful girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush), living right next door. But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach’s comes when he learns that Hannah has a mysterious dad who is revealed to be R. L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series. It turns out that there is a reason why Stine is so strange… he is a prisoner of his own imagination – the monsters that his books made famous are real, and Stine protects his readers by keeping them locked up in their books. When Zach unintentionally unleashes the monsters from their manuscripts and they begin to terrorize the town, it’s suddenly up to Stine, Zach, Hannah, and Zach’s friend Champ (Ryan Lee) to get all of them back in the books where they belong.


  • I was given the opportunity to see an advance screening of Goosebumps on the last day of New York Comic Con after sitting through a panel that included Jack Black and R.L. Steine. Goosebumps, the book series, helped shape my childhood and played a huge role on why I was such a horror geek as a child. Seriously, an 8 years old should not be collecting Hitchcock’s best films on VHS while already having the 90’s classic horror films in my collection. That is how much R.L. Steine shaped my childhood. No one better call Goosebumps a children’s book because children’s books are suppose to help you go to sleep at night and Steine’s books did not do that. They made sure you didn’t get sleep at all. It is ironic that the film actually starts off by reciting this very same fact and yet still failed to do the same thing the book series was able to accomplish to over 50 million souls over the world.

    Upset about moving from a big city to a small town, teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) finds a silver lining when he meets the beautiful girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush), living right next door. But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach’s comes when he learns that Hannah has a mysterious dad who is revealed to be R. L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series. It turns out that there is a reason why Stine is so strange… he is a prisoner of his own imagination – themonsters that his books made famous are real, and Stine protects his readers by keeping them locked up in their books. When Zach unintentionally unleashes the monsters from their manuscripts and they begin to terrorize the town, it’s suddenly up to Stine, Zach, and Hannah to get all of them back in the books where they belong. Note: Scholastic has sold over 400 million Goosebumps books worldwide in 32 languages since the series introduction in 1992, earning critical acclaim and dominating global best seller lists. R.L. Stine has been recognized as one of the bestselling children’s authors in history.

    The biggest mistake the film makes is not making the film’s main audience the Millennials who cherish Steine’s books the most. I mean, we bought the books, we watched the television series and you are 100% right if you assumed we are going to the theaters to see the film. Any Millennial is expecting a film that is as spooky as the television series and the result is about 10% of expectations added with tons of humor and bit of sentimental.

    I do applaud the screenwriters for making the script for what it is. Goosebumps is not an easy series to adapt to a film and that is probably why the film has been rumored since the 1990’s. There is no centered villain and for the most parts the books do the connect. The result? Putting all the villains and ghouls into one film and letting all hell break loose. As there were no centered villain in the series, the same could be said about a protagonists and the screenwriters lived up to the hype once again. Our protagonist is the film? No other than R.L. Steine. Beautiful!

    Prior to the monsters and ghouls being released from their books we have tons of humor to entertain us and despite not being the biggest fan of Jack Black, the humor actually sticks. Ryan Lee’s Champ provides a lot of laughs as well. The biggest problem with the film is the film continues to be funny as soon as we get to all the monsters and ghouls. See, instead of making them creepy, our villains are actually quite whacky.

    As a fellow Millennial, the film disappoints just because how badly I wanted to relive the FOX series that I grew up on. If I was a younger audience member then I will actually love the film. You really can’t ask for more and R.L. Steine added a new fan base with this film. You get your laughs, you get your thrills and you are left with an opportunity for sequels to take place, you really can’t ask for more unless you are not a selfish Millennial.

  • Quickie Review:

    Zach (Dylan Minnette) moves to a small town next to a house of a beautiful girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush). He soon learns that Hannah’s mysterious father (Jack Black) is the author of the Goosebumps series. In fact all the creatures of his imagination are locked into the manuscripts of the books, until one night they are accidentally set loose to the rampage the town. Goosebumps, is a fun light-hearted adventure. There are likeable characters, and evil villains, set in a well-paced story that creatively weaves in all the colourful spooky creatures of the books. The only downside is that it’s not an adventure for all ages, with target audience being the younger generation.

    Full Review:

    I never got into the Goosebumps books series, though I was fully aware of how popular it was in my middle school days. Considering that the series is an anthology of stories, I was curious how exactly they would tackle the source material. Then, I saw the trailer and I was sold: a spooky version of Jumanji.

    Goosebumps’ most endearing quality is by far the charming characters. For sure they are a bit stereotypical, and clichéd but the young actors served their characters well and got me to care. If as an adult who has no interest in the books can say that, that’s quite an achievement. This light-hearted tone is what kept the movie fun without becoming too scary for the kids. So you can safely take your little kids, nephews, and nieces without worrying if they’ll be scared awake all night. What surprised me the most about the movie was the main villain, Slappy also voiced by Jack Black. He was genuinely a menacing villain, but there is more to him than just being evil. He felt threatening because his motivation was complete and fleshed out (ironic for a puppet…). Which made his actions feel all the more dangerous to our story’s heroes.

    Unfortunately, I’m not the target age-group of this movie. I watched Jumanji recently, and while that is a kid’s movie even as an adult I enjoyed it to the fullest. However, with Goosebumps it’s clear that the filmmakers were aiming for early teens or younger. Then again, the adults aren’t completely forgotten, there are some jokes sprinkled in for us, but for the most part expect the laughs from the young ones in the audience. As I mentioned the characters are stereotypical, so there are no surprises when it comes to their individual story arcs. That may be working in the movie’s favour, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re looking for anything deep.

    All in all, Goosebumps is a simple yet entertaining adventure movie targeted for kids. It has likeable heroes to root for and plenty of villains to be scared of. Sure I couldn’t relate to it fully, but if I had kids of mine own, I wouldn’t hesitate to take them to see this movie. (or watch online because this movie got ridiculously delayed release in EU!!)

    Check out more on my blog:

  • “It’s like stop trying to be Stephen King, man. Let me tell you something about Steve King. Steve King wishes he could write like me, and I’ve sold way more books than him, but nobody ever talks about that!”

    Lets organize a pleasant afternoon and watch a soft horror movie with the whole family. Why wouldn’t we use the oeuvre of R.L. Stine? This writer wrote a whole series of books known as the famous Goosebumps. And to circumvent the obstacle of choosing a book, they just used all of them in the same film. What you get to see is a horde of horror figures, planning to destroy the human world. From small, annoying gnomes to a giant grasshopper. There are some less successful creations and there are also some highly amusing creations like Slappy, the Yeti and the werewolf with basketball shoes. The end result is a Jumanji-like kids-movie in which the main actors must do their utmost best to straighten out this crooked situation.

    I wasn’t really impressed though. Probably because I’m not part of the target group. The bland romantic part and the attempt to make it adventurous, obviously wasn’t meant for me. It might be a bit too scary for the youngest among us (although it wasn’t overly creepy). Pubers however might think it’s a bit too soft. I appreciated the rare moments when the humor became tremendously sharp and shrewd, like the opening scene and the Stephen King remark for example. Even the humorous interactions of the scrawny little fellow Champ (Ryan Lee) who tries to fix everything along with Zach (Dylan Minnette) and Hannah (Odeya “The Giver” Rush), was acceptable. The only thing that started to get on my nerves after a while, was him using that effeminate scream for the umpteenth time.

    “Goosebumps” guarantees an entertaining afternoon at the local cinema for young people. Even adults who accompany them, could have some fun with it. There are some memorable parts such as the werewolf fragment in the supermarket. Long time since I’ve seen such a perfectly choreographed scene where real actors and animated characters interact with each other. Blood-curdling exciting and flashy. Yep it gave me goosebumps. Unfortunately in the end it turned into a real mess. It was a bit too much of everything. A flood of Stine’s literary creations. And Jack Black, who plays the grumpy hermit Stine, stuck to his routine of not being funny. It’s probably me, but if you want me to be depressed, just let me watch “School of Rock”. Success guaranteed.

    “Goosbumps” won’t be such a huge success as a fantasy and horror film. It seemed to me that the idea to cram Stine’s creations into the same movie, wasn’t exactly the most brilliant idea. The best is the enemy of the good. Fortunately, they didn’t use this idea for the Harry Potter books. Perhaps the creators biggest intention was to promote reading a book again. Maybe they partially succeeded in that. Unfortunately this self-promotion also worked disadvantageous when you look at the special effects and the story structure. All in all it’s a must see for ten year olds. Maybe I re-watch it with my son in five years. He can have his uninhibited opinion about my humble opinion!

    More reviews here :

  • “Stephen King is no slouch,” commented a member of the Movie Fan Facebook Page staff. The man has published 60 books, which have sold over 350 million copies. “Wait a minute,” you say. “Why start a review of a movie based on R.L. Stine’s books by talking about Stephen King?” Fair question. Well, Stine has been called “the Stephen King of children’s literature.” Beyond that, you may be surprised to learn that Stine has bested the famously prolific King by publishing hundreds of books, which have sold over 400 million copies! Think about that. It’s enough to… give you goose bumps. That, of course, is the name of Stine’s most popular series of books, brought to the big screen in the film “Goosebumps” (PG, 1:43).

    Fans of the series may wonder which of the books is the basis for the movie. The answer is none of them – and all of them. Rather than adapting any one of Stine’s books, which are, admittedly, relatively short (as Stephen King exclaims, “Ah-HAH! See?”), this film imagines a world in which Stine’s monsters come to life and terrorize a small town, while R.L. Stein himself, along with a few local teenagers, attempt to recapture the creatures and save the town. I won’t spoil the movie, except to say that, in the end, we Movie Fans get a film that is as exciting and delightful as any of the books that inspired this story.

    The film has Jack Black portraying Stine as an unfriendly recluse in the tiny (fictional) town of Madison, Delaware. Showing Stine as a movie character which we get to know as a man, but is only a fictionalized version of the real person recalls movies like Charlie Kaufman’s 1999 fantasy comedy-drama “Being John Malkovich” or Matthew LeBlanc (starting in 2011) playing himself as an adorable jerk in the Showtime comedy series “Episodes”. Black’s Stine calls himself Mr. Shivers. He’s a widower who lives in a big house with his kind, but mischievous 16-year-old daughter, Hannah (Odeya Rush), whom he homeschools.

    Moving in right next door is Madison High School’s new assistant principal, recently widowed Gale Cooper (Amy Ryan), and her teenage son, Zach (Dylan Minnette), still grieving the loss of his father. Gale’s sweetly clueless sister, Loraine (Jillian Bell) greets them with open arms, but Zach and Gale simply have a lot of adjusting to do – and new people to meet. Gale is almost immediately hit on by shy fellow educator, Coach Carr (Ken Marino), while an awkward nerd ironically named Champ (Ryan Lee) traps the new guy into a friendship. It’s a good thing for Zach that Hannah is such a pleasure to be around.

    One night when Zach looks towards his new neighbor’s house and thinks he sees Mr. Shivers abusing Hannah, he calls Champ and they steal into the house. Zach and Champ see that Hannah’s okay, but not before they find a key and open a locked “Goosebumps” manuscript among many on a shelf in Mr. Shivers’ study. The book is “The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena” and unlocking the manuscript allows a large, furry creature to literally jump off the page. The three teens run after him, Hannah telling them that the monster can only be re-captured by sucking him back into the book from whence he came. The Abominable Snowman wreaks havoc on the town until Mr. Shivers shows up to save the day.

    In the destruction that the creature caused in the study, all the manuscripts fell to the floor and one of them popped open – one releasing the evil Slappy the Dummy. Slappy unleashes complete mayhem in Madison – on the night of a big high school dance nonetheless. The police (a hilarious Timothy Simons and Amanda Lund) are no help, but few people would be. That ventriloquist dummy serves as the ringleader of a gang of dangerous and destructive creations including a wolfman, a maniacal clown, a herd of garden gnomes and a gargantuan praying mantis. They all want revenge on their creator for keeping them locked up so long. And Stein is the only one who even has a chance of stopping them.

    When Stine’s creations come to life, besides clear memories of Robin Williams’ 1995 hit “Jumanji”, this situation reminds us of Emma Thompson’s author writing Will Ferrell’s character into existence in 2006’s “Stranger Than Fiction”, or the underseen 1979 thriller “Time After Time” in which the character of H.G. Wells (author of the sci-fi classic “The Time Machine”) uses profits from his writing to build a working time machine which one of his friends uses to escape the police and continue a killing spree when it is discovered that he’s Jack the Ripper. “Goosebumps” deserves a place among these other great films.

    This film’s story may not be completely original, but it feels fresh and it is fantastically well executed. All of the actors are perfectly cast (even Jack Black, who, in our opinion, seems to have had more misses than hits in his career). With the help of a story by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, a script by Darren Lemke and the direction of Rob Letterman, this cast and this story hit the perfect balance between frightening and fun – just like the “Goosebumps” books themselves. The script is very funny and the dialog and character interactions are charming from the very beginning to the very end of the movie. The interesting characters, the story’s danger and adventure, along with the excitement and humor all seamlessly contribute to a simply wonderful family film that will appeal to kids of all ages, even if they don’t know their goose bumps from their speed bumps or their Kings from their Stines. “A+”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *