Cast: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Amy ryan, Jillian Bell, Odeya Rush
Director: Rob Letterman
A feature adaptation of acclaimed author R.L. Stine's children's stories, this film about a young New York city teen, Zach(Dylan Minnette) who is reluctant to move out of his secure zone to the much quieter town of Greenslade, Delaware (with his Mom). The film is structured much like Stine's books and is faithful in rendition but not thrills.
A still from 'Goosebumps'
Zach finds that there's much more of interest in the Somnambulant town than he ever imagined. He finds out that his neighbor is none other than the famous young-adult horror writer of the 'Goosebumps' series, Stine, whose dangerous secret just seems to be jumping out of the pages of his books, a la 'Jumanji'.
Soon enough, Zach manages to collect two new friends, a weirdo called Champ (Ryan Lee) and the attractive, spunky girl next-door, Hannah (Odeya Rush)- who happens to be the author's Daughter and never far away from her reclusive, overprotective father's eagle eye.
So now it's up to Zach and the author's young niece with imaginary support from the author himself, to team-up and save the day. The author in fact has to script a new tale to fit the escaped horrors back into the streamlines of his books.
The story is not exactly great or excitement inducing but the FX team do have it made what with all the favorite 'Goosebumps' characters including the Abominable Snowman of Pasadena, a werewolf, a giant insect, a mummy, aliens with freeze guns, zombies, and Slappy the Ventriloquist's Dummy, jumping out of the pages. The faithfulness in character types allows for familiarity but the lack of ominous dread cripples the enjoyment quite a bit. Jack Black does a likeable type of the author and even manages to stave off grating on our nerves. The youngsters in the heart of the story are also amiable. It's the direction and script that is suspect.
As a standard children's adventure, this one is interesting enough but the horror part just doesn't stick. Darren Lemke, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski who together adapted the stories to screenplay fail to generate enough scares or fears to make the grade as a young adult horror adventure. The takes are much too generic and don't appear inspired. The technique is better though not the very best and the narrative prefers to short-end the thrills. So in effect it's much less than what was aimed for.
Watch the trailer of 'Goosebumps'