Upon arriving in a new town with his mother, Zach discovers his neighbors aren’t exactly who they claim to be. After accidentally setting loose R.L. Stine’s famous creations, Zach must team up with his newfound friends and the crotchety author in order to send the creepy creatures back where they belong.
Not being the right age to have read any of R.L. Stine’s beloved books I took the trailers at face value and hoped for something falling between Jumanji and Joe Dante’s Small Soldiers. I’m more than happy to report I wasn’t far wrong. Goosebumps is a frenetic, family adventure that provides an adequate amount of thrills and chills for a younger audience, with enough going on to entertain the older generations too.
Danny Elfman’s score provides the kind of off-kilter quirk that evokes an air of Burton, but in doing so may leave a more familiar fan-base wishing the gothic auteur had some hand in proceedings. Visually, the ghouls, monsters and gelatinous hordes are impressive, with a couple of moments possibly proving a little too hairy for the youngest of cinemagoers.
The young lead Dylan Minnette rocks an impressive performance as Zach, with both Adeya Rush and Super 8’s Ryan Lee rounding out the team, the former a charismatic catalyst to Minnette’s emotional journey, while the latter more a comedic entity. Jack Black’s turn as R.L. Stine is surprisingly buttoned down but no less endearing than the teen protagonists.
There are elements of Casper and Rob Letterman’s own Monsters VS Aliens here, and that’s no bad thing. I hope we see a sequel sooner rather than later as the celebratory revelry of Goosebumps makes for a fun filled journey indeed.
Goosebumps opens in the UK on February 5th
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