Goofy kids' horror-comedy that lets RL Stine's Goosebumps monsters, and a hysterically over-the-top Jack Black, run amok
So, you’re making the movie version of RL Stine’s Goosebumps. Which one of his hundreds of monsters do you plump for? “All of them,” is the answer here, including a hovering poodle, murderous garden gnomes and a creepy ventriloquist dummy named Slappy. Delightfully, the series' author is also in the mix, played by Jack Black as a cantankerous blowhard prone to boasting about his own book sales.
We can understand his egomania. Stine’s writing is so potent that his creatures literally jump off the pages of his manuscripts unless they’re locked shut, which is swiftly demonstrated when the kid next door (Minnette) accidentally lets the Abominable Snowman loose in the writer's office. Chaos – and more monsters – ensue.
Even when the screen becomes awash with CGI, director Rob Letterman keeps the action grounded and the goofy jokes coming. All a story needs is “a beginning, a middle, and a twist,” says Stine at one point. Goosebumps has a whole mess of the latter, and just because you can see them coming doesn’t make them any less fun.