For Reel

Goosebumps (2015)
November 16, 2015, 8:06 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Rob Letterman
3 Stars
GoosebumpsGoosebumps succeeds as a youth-oriented appreciation of classic creature features like The Blob, which similarly features a group of teens attempting to rescue a town from monsters over the course of a single night. The screenplay is attuned to the things that kids might find equally horrifying and wondrous–sequences are set in abandoned theme parks, grocery stores, and an ice rink, evoking a spirit of nostalgia and the wish fulfillment of going to one of these usually bustling environments after dark. Similarly, the film is grounded in the relationships between its characters, most successfully in the developments between Zach (Dylan Minnette) and his mother (Amy Ryan, who is ironically given more to do than in a lot of her more prestigious recent outings). But one could imagine a better adaptation of R.L. Stine’s unique book series–if Goosebumps works as a monster film, it is pretty unsatisfying as a piece of nostalgia. Save for Slappy the Dummy, most of the memorable creatures from the books are not present, and problematically many of Stine’s stories don’t involve such easily categorizable monsters. The film tries to capitalize on Stine’s formula–new kid in town, parents not believing their children, a dark twist ending–but it could have better explored what exactly made them so memorable and scary.

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