Story by Adam Winn, Staff writer
When it comes to Jack Black movies, they can be either good, (“School of Rock”) or awful, (“Nacho Libre.”) His new movie “Goosebumps” should be a hit for all audience members, regardless of age, much like “School of Rock.”
The movie is about a teenage boy named Zach (Dylan Minnette), who just moved to a new town with his mom after she received a job as vice principal at the town’s high school. Zach soon befriends a teenage girl named Hannah (Odeya Rush), who is his next door neighbor, and also meets her reclusive father (Jack Black), who forbids the boy from having any contact with his daughter.
Zach begins suspecting something might be wrong with his new neighbors when he hears yelling and screaming coming from inside the house one night. After failed attempts of trying to get his mom and the police involved, he decides to take matters into his own hands and breaks into his neighbor’s house.
What he discovers is a bookcase full of the author R.L. Stine’s original “Goosebumps” manuscripts sealed with locks on them.
After finding the key and unlocking a book, he finds out the books are actually alive and the monsters living within the pages, such as the “Abominable Snowman” and “Slappy the Dummy,” escape into the real world.
With the help of his new socially awkward friend, Champ (Ryan Lee), Hannah and her father, who is revealed to be R.L. Stine himself, try to find a way to restore all of the monsters to the books where they belong.
The movie mainly caters to a younger viewing audience, with its light-hearted humor and scares, but anyone who is familiar with R.L. Stine’s book collection will enjoy the movie too.
The cinematography and the special effects are shot and produced well. The creature designs were impressively made by using the combination of CGI and animation and don’t appear cheaply done to the adult audience and might even appear frightening to younger viewers.
With the name “Goosebumps,” the viewer would think the movie would be more on the scary side, like the ‘90s television show with the same name was, but it’s actually more funny than frightening.
There are many witty jokes spoken throughout the movie, such as when the side kick character Champ says, “Most teenagers aren’t afraid of death, but I was born with the gift of fear. When I was four and put on a swing, I thought, so this is how it ends.”
Black did an outstanding job playing the fictionalized version of R.L. Stine. He initially portrays this version of Stine as a reclusive, angry man, but as the film progresses, the viewer begins to sympathize with the character.
The actors and actresses who portray the teenagers did exceptionally well too, especially by Minnette, who acts as newcomer Zach, and by Rush, who is the sheltered and mysterious daughter Hannah.
As with many kid-oriented movies, there are a few minor plot holes that the adult audience might question. For example, when all of the Goosebumps’ monsters begin plaguing the city, it appears most of the people of the town have just disappeared, with supermarkets left open and unlocked, but no one’s inside.
If the adult crowd can overlook minor inconsistencies like that and go into the movie with a child-like mindset, then they are likely to find the movie just as enjoyable as any child would.