Friday, October 16, 2015

Releases October 16th, 2015
1 hr 43 mins
Rated PG
Action, Adventure, Comedy


Director: Rob Letterman
Writer: Darren Lemke; Story by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski

Dylan Minnette as Zachary "Zach" Cooper
Jack Black as R. L. Stine
Jack Black as the voice of Slappy;
Avery Jones performs Slappy the Dummy.
Jack Black also voices Brent Green.
Odeya Rush as Hannah Stine
Amy Ryan as Gale Cooper
Ryan Lee as Champ
Jillian Bell as Lorraine
Ken Marino as Coach Carr
Halston Sage as Taylor
Steven Krueger as Davidson
E. Roger Mitchell
Timothy Simons
Amanda Lund as Officer Brooks
R. L. Stine cameos as a Hallway Player

Review by Stephen M.

My wife is a huge R. L. Stine fan from back when she read his Fear Street books.  The movie is a fun stab at R. L. Stine and his main bread and butter Goosebumps that will have you altering between being at the edge of your seat with thrills and laughing out loud.  The film is a nice adventure along the lines of Jumanji just in time for the Halloween season.

One of the things that really stood out for me for the movie was the stellar casting.  The young adults casted in the movie seem to be born for these roles.  Dylan Minnette as new kid in the neighborhood Zach is intrigued by the cute next door Hannan played by Odeya Rush.  She is kept secluded and hidden away by her creepy father played by Jack Black.  Zach as the new kid immediately attracts as a friend goofball Champ played by Ryan Lee at school.  The two accidentally releases the Abominable Snowman from one of RL Stine's books which in turn causes more chaos for the kids and the town folk.

The three cast members play well off of each other with excellent chemistry.  Jack Black as the father is good but perhaps not intimidating enough.  His scene with Zach and Champ about Stephen King however, is one of my favorites.  The dialogue is well written and clever not relying on sight gags though there are some of those as well.

With regards to the special effects, with so much monsters coming to life out of the books, it is quite a mix bag.  Some looks better and more realistic than others.  However, I don't feel that the movie quite utilizes 3D as well as it should.  There are far and few moments of where a character or an object will leap out at you, which is quite unfortunate given the type of movie that it is.

Overall, I would recommend this film to adults and as well for teenagers.  While the movie is rated PG, the monsters and tense moments may be a bit too much for younger children.  My daughter who refuses to watch the movie after watching the trailer is a prime example of a child that the movie may not agree with.  The adults will enjoy the good humor and action while the teens will also enjoy the dynamic of friendship and love among the younger characters.  R.L. Stine makes a quick cameo towards the end.  Unfortunately, it is more fleeting and meaningless than even Stan Lee's many cameos in the Marvel movies.


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