I’ll be completely honest. I am not a Jack Black fan. At all. While I don’t have anything against him as a human being, he’s not an actor that I typically enjoy. It was my love of Goosebumps books that led me to check this film out, in spite of Black, and I was surprised to find that he was one of the better parts of the movie.
The premise of this film is basic. “A teenager teams up with the daughter of young adult horror author R. L. Stine after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on the town of Madison, Delaware.” To go into it a bit deeper, a teen moves from NYC to Madison, Delaware with his mother after his father dies to get a change of scenery. He meets a cool, fun girl next door, but her father is bat shit insane. (There really is no other way to describe Black’s portrayal of Stine at the start of the movie.) We find out the reason that he’s insane i
s that he’s a writer. is because the creatures he wrote about have come to life and torment him and wherever he lives unless he keeps them locked away in their books. Obviously, the story centers around what happens when the beasts escape.
Growing up I LOVED Goosebumps books along with Fear Street, so being able to identify the creatures from the different titles was a nostalgic blast. There were only a handful of nightmares that I didn’t recognize immediately, so I spent the majority of the film reveling in getting to see my childhood demons come to life on screen. Great care was taken to bring the covers from the paperbacks we all cherished as youngsters to life. The effects were spectacular, beyond what I expected.
What’s more, the film is great for people who didn’t read the Goosebumps books too. The story is compelling, there’s plenty of action to keep the plot moving, and there are definitely enough jokes to break the tension in between so the movie doesn’t get too heavy or dark. (Despite the fact that there’s an evil puppet plotting to kill them all.) The humor and frequent tension relief is what keeps the film appropriate for children and teens, but the jokes aren’t too lowbrow for adults to enjoy them as well.
Go see this movie before it leaves theaters! I had the pleasure of watching it on Halloween, and it was the perfect way to bring a little spooky into the evening, but in a way that didn’t have us peering over our shoulders for the rest of the night. This movie is great entertainment, but light on scares.