Goosebumps generally keeps its head above the waters of churned-out children’s-book-adaptation mediocrity, embracing the fun of iconic monsters wreaking havoc on small-town America. The script teeters on the edge of abominable cheese, normally managing wry nods to cliché but at other times indulging in lazy writing.
A lot hangs on Jack Black – hugely OTT as usual, but muddling through with his gothic exuberance – and young lead Dylan Minnette, whose laidback charm sells much of the film. For older fans, however, R.L. Stine has been somewhat cleansed of his unpredictable terror in order to appeal to younger families.
Despite a sharp-ish script, some strong comedy performances, and plenty of love for its source material, Goosebumps is still not balanced or worthy enough to truly satisfy R.L. Stine aficionados.
CAST: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Ryan Lee, Amy Ryan, Jillian Bell
DIRECTOR: Rob Letterman
WRITERS: Darren Lemke (screenplay), Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski (story), R.L. Stine (book series)
SYNOPSIS: When Zach Cooper (Minette) moves to Delaware he is perked up by pretty neighbour Hannah (Rush). Her over-protective father (Black), however, discourages all contact and it soon transpires that he, as R.L. Stine, is hiding a lot of scary, hairy, ghoulish and ghostly secrets on his bookshelves.
A preview screening of Goosebumps was kindly provided by Way To Blue.