My 2015 Movies: Goosebumps (#25)

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I have zero experience with Goosebumps. Never read the books, and never watched the show aside from occasional scenes while I was waiting for the other Cartoon Network shows to come on. I guess as a kid I was scared off, and by the time I realized how nonthreatening it actually was I was too old to care. So, I had no intention on seeing this movie. However, after seeing the movie recently I decided to add it to the countdown. It’s a movie worth talking about.

A boy named Zach moves to Madison, Delaware, right next door to an interesting girl and her peculiar father. The father warns Zach to stay away from him, his house and his daughter, but he keeps noticing strange things coming from the house. He and his friend Champ go to investigate one night and come across a bookshelf full of Goosebumps manuscripts. Zach accidentally opens one, releasing some of the book’s monsters who reek havoc to the city. With the help of the father, who turns out to be R.L. Stine, they must recapture all the monsters.

This movie is a lesson on not judging a book by its cover. I expected a typical kid’s movie in the style of Diary of a Wimpy Kid or something. The trailers really give off that vibe and the source material doesn’t help it’s image much. But it’s not the movie I was expecting. In fact it was better than I was expecting.

The concept was really smart. Instead of just making a horror themed movie aimed at kids and calling it Goosebumps, it soaked in the spirit of it’s source. It’s very meta and has a lot of references to the source material (I assume). But it doesn’t isolate itself to just Goosebumps fans. You don’t have to know squat about Goosebumps to enjoy this movie. Hell, some of the movie’s best jokes don’t involve the source at all.

Speaking of which, this movie is surprisingly funny. You’d expect a PG film to be restricted and only go for the slapstick, gross-out humor and puns. Those kinds of jokes do exist, but in very limited doses. The other 80% of the jokes are clever and effective. Most of the humor comes from Jack Black, who manages to be funny no matter what the rating is.

Besides the story, the film’s greatest strength is it’s story. It’s not just a generic kid’s film story with no effort put in. It’s a fully fleshed out story that has cohesion, good pacing and twists. I won’t spoil this one twist that comes in towards the middle, but it was brilliant.

The film is well acted across the board. I couldn’t find a single character I hated, even the monsters themselves. The effects are really nice to look at, too. Admittedly a lot of the CG monsters seemed really fake, but not all of them are CG. Slappy and the gnomes for example are practical, which gives the film a bit of visual variety.

As far as kids’ films like this, this is one of the better ones. If you have kids to enjoy this with or nostalgia for Goosebumps, you should go out and find this. Otherwise, catch it if the opportunity is presented to you.

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

View #24 here!

2015 Movie Countdown Directory: here!

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