Sunday, July 29, 2018

Movie Review: Goosebumps

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Light scares and comedy
Cons: Predictable; a few annoying characters
The Bottom Line:
A book franchise turned
Into fun children’s movie
Great for audience

“Maybe They’re Friendly.”

By the time the Goosebumps craze came along, I was in college, so older than the target audience for the book series.  Okay, so I may have read one or two, but I didn’t really see the appeal.  Yet when the movie was released a few years ago, I was intrigued because I thought it looked like it could be a lot of fun.  While I just now got to watch it, I was right.

As the movie opens, we meet Zach (Dylan Minnette) and his mom Gale (Amy Ryan) as they are moving to Madison, Delaware.  Zach doesn’t seem excited about their fresh start – that is until he meets their new neighbor Hannah (Odeya Rush).  He’s immediately smitten, but Hannah’s father (Jack Black) does his best to warn Zach away.  What might they be hiding?

Okay, so if you know anything about the movie, you know that eventually we wind up running from and fighting the many monsters from the Goosebumps series.  How exactly that comes about I’m going to leave for you to discover.  It may not be especially surprising or original, but it is a ton of fun to watch unfold.

Yes, the movie knows it is kid friendly horror, but it is also a comedy.  And the horror is light, mainly the characters running from the monsters.  Very sensitive kids might be frightened by it, but almost everyone is going to recognize it for the fun it is intended to be.  And the comedy certainly helps lighten some of the more suspenseful moments.

There are a couple of surprises to the plot along the way, but for the most part, this is a fairly predictable movie.  But the story never really gives you time to think about it.  Instead, you are hopping from one narrow escape to the next, all the while hoping that the characters can save the day somehow.

The characters are the biggest issue for me.  While I do like most of them, I found a few to be annoying.  I get that they were supposed to be funny, but I didn’t find them amusing.  Fortunately, most of the truly annoying ones are very minor characters.  The exception to that is Champ as played by Ryan Lee.  Fortunately, he doesn’t turn out to be quite as annoying as his first few scenes indicate he could be.

The cast does a great job overall.  Finding the correct tone can be tricky, but they nail it here.  The special effects aren’t quite as polished as they might be in other movies, but they work for this film.

Overall, Goosebumps is a fun movie.  It’s light horror mixed with comedy that should appeal to the target kid audience.

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