These “transfer” reviews are from when I only did reviews on my Facebook page back in 2015. Bare in mind when reading these, I didn’t have the same formula in my review writing that I do now, and my usual “who starred and who directed” information is completely absent, so everything “italicized” is new. With that said, enjoy this review from 2015.
For those of you that don’t know, I’m not a reader. I don’t like reading. If I’m reading, that book better be DAMN good. The last book I read was the Hunger Games trilogy. Before that was STAR WARS CORUSCANT NIGHTS: JEDI TWILIGHT at least four years before. Not the sequel books, just that first one. I have not read anything since the Hunger Games trilogy. That being said, I collected every single one of the original Goosebumps books as a kid. I never read them though (get your jokes out). I just liked the pictures. But I did watch the shows (yeah yeah, doesn’t count). But regardless, I… was not looking forward to this movie. Staring Jack Black? And it looks funny? Um… how is this Goosebumps? Well, as you can plainly tell, I’m writing a review on it, which means I saw it. Why did I see it? Because… the PADDINGTON effect. What’s the PADDINGTON effect? I’ll explain in my review.
Starring: Dylan Minnette (DON’T BREATHE ), Jack Black (JUMANJI 2 , KUNG FU PANDA 3 , and upcoming films DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT  and THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS ), Odeya Rush (LADY BIRD , and upcoming films GOOSEBUMPS: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN  and DUMPLIN’ ), and Ryan Lee (SUPER 8  and TROPHY WIFE [2013 – 2014])
Support: Amy Ryan (MONSTER TRUCKS , THE INFILTRATOR , BRIDGE OF SPIES , and upcoming films BEAUTIFUL BOY  and STRANGE BUT TRUE ), Jillian Bell (ROUGH NIGHT  and OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY ), Halston Sage (BEFORE I FALL  and PAPER TOWNS ), and Karan Soni (DEADPOOL 2 , ROUGH NIGHT, GHOSTBUSTERS , and upcoming films OFFICE UPRISING  and TROLLS 2 )
Director: Rob Letterman (upcoming films DETECTIVE PIKACHU  and DUNGEONS & DRAGONS )
Writer: Darren Lemke (upcoming films SHAZAM!  and GEMINI MAN )
Composer: Danny Elfman (FIFTY SHADES FREED , THE CIRCLE , ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS , AVENGERS: ULTRON , and upcoming films DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT and THE GRINCH )
Cinematographer: Javier Aguirresarobe (THOR: RAGNAROK , THE FINEST HOURS , and upcoming films BLUE NIGHT  and OPERATION FINALE )
Editor: Jim May (RAMPAGE  and TMNT: OUT OF THE SHADOWS )
This is my honest opinion of: GOOSEBUMPS
Zach (Dylan Minnette) and his mom Gale (Amy Ryan) have moved to the suburbs of Maryland in order to get a fresh start after the tragic passing of Zach’s father. The two attempt to make the best of the situation. Zach even meets his next door neighbor, Hannah (Odeya Rush). Of course, that comes with a slight complication when Zach meets her father, the famed Goosebumps novelist R.L. Stine (Jack Black), who is none too pleased with meeting the neighbors and demands that Zach stay away from Hannah. This doesn’t end up being a request respected because Zach and Hannah do hang out once. But that night, Zach hears some disturbing sounds coming from next door, Hannah screaming and R.L. Stine yelling angrily. After the police prove to be of no help, Zach takes matters into his own hands by recruiting a socially awkward schoolmate, Champ (Ryan Lee), as his lookout as Zach tries to figure out if Hannah is okay. Breaking into the creepy house via the basement loaded with bear traps, they discover that Hannah’s father is R.L. Stine (information that they don’t know before now) and that there are a bunch of Goosebumps manuscripts of all the original novels. But after opening one, and Hannah making an appearance, the book (The Abominable Snowman from Pasadena) unleashes the abominable snowman.
The PADDINGTON effect: When you, an intelligent and enlightened individual, knows a bad movie when you see one, but as soon as reviews for this movie that you know is bad come out praising how good it is, you must see the movie yourself for the sole purpose of proving these tasteless savages wrong, only to leave the theater ashamed of how you joined the ranks of those who thought the supposed-bad movie wasn’t that bad.
In short, it’s not bad.
Alright, so it’s not really Goosebumps as far as scaring you and the movie as it stands isn’t amazing, but it is actually pretty enjoyable. The movie does have heart.
The movie is, as you’ve probably noticed from the trailer, on the comedic side. The exchanges between Zach and his mom Gale are pretty genuine and can be legit funny. Although I do think that Champ is a bit too clichéd on the comedy relief. But the fact that he has a “business card” containing his phone number and locker number was pretty funny.
In fact, a lot of the humor actually works. For example, there’s a scene where the abominable snowman has escaped the book, ran to the local ice skating rink, and attacks our heroes on the ice. In an attempt to escape the monster, Champ is on board the ice resurfacer. This seems like a good idea as it must be better than slipping every second because no one’s wearing skates. But… the vehicle is revealed to be comically too slow to be of any use. The timing is perfect and there is plenty more funny stuff throughout the movie.
I do have to say that Slappy was pretty creepy… and surprisingly funny. But I suppose that if you failed at making that puppet creepy, then you fail at life. But thank God that wasn’t the case. And the fact that they made him the villain of the movie is too perfect. Maybe there’s an argument to be said that he was a little too similar to Batman’s Joker, but considering this character is from a children’s horror book, the mannerisms and bad puns make more sense.
To be honest, the movie just has a lot of little annoyances than anything. I hate that Black puts on a weird accent. I mean… why dude? Why? I just watched an interview with R.L. Stine and he doesn’t have an accent. Even in this role, it’s hard to take him seriously. Had he just used his normal voice, his performance would have been passable. But… no, this was just an oddball choice that is really distracting. Even if you get past the accent, it’s just not a very convincing performance. You don’t get the sense that even his character takes anything that’s happening seriously… except around Slappy. But that’s easy as, again, that puppet is creepy! Which is… odd because Slappy is voiced by Black himself. SLAPPY, VOICED BY JACK BLACK, WAS MORE ENJOYABLE THAN JACK BLACK HIMSELF!!! Bleh…
Some of the slapstick is a little too silly and cartoonish, but thankfully it’s not too commonplace in the movie.
I also don’t like the very ending where Hannah comes back after being sucked into the “world of paper and ink.” What a cheap ending. I mean, in retrospect, that ending was inevitable, which would imply lazy writing. For one thing, the magic typewriter that R.L. Stine used to accidentally bring every monster he created to life automatically screams [in reference to Hannah getting sucked back into the pages] “JUST USE THE TYPEWRITER TO BRING HER BACK TO LIFE!!!” The weight of loss and learning to let go would have carried more weight if Slappy had destroyed the typewriter, hence there would have been no way for Hannah to be brought back, making the ending more effective.
Also, Hannah being sucked into the pages made no real sense as Zach specifically says that the “monsters” get sucked back into the pages. We have no real indication of WHAT Hannah is. I suppose we can assume that she’s a ghost and that counts, but “monster” usually implies an instinct driven and hostile creature. Ghosts don’t always fit that bill. So Hannah’s removal from the story felt cheap.
Any way, there’s my praises and gripes. It’s not amazing, but it’s nowhere near the worst movie ever made. I personally think it’s better than “okay” so take that for what you will.
My honest rating for GOOSEBUMPS: a strong 3/5