Goosebumps: Fun Adaptation of Quirky Children’s Horror Books
Dylan MinnetteJack Black...
In 1 Cinema
Known in the literary world as ‘Stephen King of children’s literature’, R.L Stine’s beloved Goosebumps book series – which has also spawned various television series over the years – has recieved the big-screen treatment in Goosebumps; an incredibly charming and a zany horror adventure for children which manages to capture the temperament and the kid-friendly attitude of author’s celebrated horror novels.
Following the death of his father, young teenager, Zachary ‘Zach’ Cooper (Minnette) and his mom, Gale (Ryan) have decided to move from New York to a small town of Madison, Delaware where Gale will start her new job as vice principal to a local high school. It doesn’t take long before Zachary spots – and instantly falls for – his beautiful new neighbour, Hannah (Rush), who lives in the house next-door with her controlling – and highly secretive dad – R.L Stine – a.k.a ‘Mr. Shivers’ (Black), who is quick to warn Zach to keep his distance.
Zach soon starts suspecting that Mr. Shivers is holding Hannah in an abusive relationship of sorts but, doesn’t have any evidence to prove it. With help from new friend, Champ (Lee), Zach breaks into Stine’s house to rescue Hannah, though, once in, Zach and Champ discover a shelf filled with locked ‘Goosebumps’ manuscripts and before Hannah has a chance to stop them, they open one of the books, bringing Stine’s imaginary monsters to life.
Adapted to the screen by Darren Lemke, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, Goosebumps is the type of kid-movie that we have been missing from our screens for quite some time now. Reminiscent of films like Jumanji and Gremlins, Goosebumps is maintained by an infectious energy and an adventurous narrative, which director Rob Letterman ensures that there is plenty of from the story’s very beginning.
Although, there is an obvious pattern of borrowing-from-other-kid-adventure-movies on display, Goosebumps still manages to override its minor flaws – which include the somewhat weak CGI effects and a poor attempt in delivering a more poignant side to the story – by infusing plenty of silly humour and kid-friendly frights. Black brings a more serious and straight-faced performance to the whacky representation of R.L Stein – and plenty of character into the voice support of the creepy-looking dummy doll named Slappy – while both Minnette and Rush have enough charm about them to keep them likable throughout.
Breezy, funny and unpretentious-to-the-bone, Goosebumps is not the most visually impressive or graphically imaginative film, but it’s a terribly fun one.