Goosebumps offers a perfect way to introduce younger viewers to the horror genre, while serving as a horror-comedy for adults
There’s no doubt I would’ve loved watching Goosebumps, when I was a little innocent ScreamQueen. Even though it’s filled with monsters – and a lot of scary moments – the story is told as a fairytale with lots of humor along the way. Maybe that’s why I love horror-comedies so much now; There’s this childish joy in going head first into something, which you know will make you jump from scares and laugh at the same time. Both of which you should end up doing when watching Goosebumps. There’s a certain Spielberg-like vibe in this movie to me, and that’s always a good thing in my book.
The lead character of Zach is played by Dylan Minnette, who we’ll soon be seeing again in Don’t Breathe, which could turn out to be one of the best horror movies of 2016, if the initial reviews from SXSW are to be believed. Minnette delivers a sweet and good-hearted character, who recently lost his father and just moved into a new house with his mom, who also works at his new school. The mom is played by Amy Ryan, who was Academy Award nominated a few years ago for her role i Gone Baby Gone (and she was in theaters last year in Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies). In Goosebumps her character is a very loving mom, who works great with both her own son and the kids at school. Even if she’s trying a bit too hard to be cool.
Two of the best parts of the movie were Jillian Bell (who can be heard in the Angry Birds movie right now), who plays Zach’s aunt and is in love with falling in love – and also with her bedazzler, so she’s bedazzling pretty much everything. The other is Ryan Lee, who was in Spielberg’s Super 8, which is another great example of a movie for kids that has horror elements. Lee plays Champ, who is Zach’s very new best friend. Champ is so sweet and innocent, you almost can’t take it, so you feel for him – and also, you will laugh at him.
The script was written by Darren Lemke (Jack the Giant Slayer) based on a story by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (both took part in writing the script for 1408, which was an adaptation of a Stephen King short story). Director Rob Letterman is known for doing movies for kids, and made both Shark Tale (2004) and Gulliver’s Travels (2010), which also starred Jack Black.
Like I said earlier, there’s a lot of humor – and heart – in Goosebumps and that makes it a really wonderful movie. However, there are lots of monsters as well, and it could be pretty scary for the younger viewers. Still, I can’t imagine a better movie to start your horror movie life with, so if you’ve got kids or other young film fans in your life, then you should definitely watch this movie with them!
Goosebumps is out on Blu-ray and Digital now!
Director: Rob Letterman
Writer: Darren Lemke, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski (and R.L. Stine’s characters)
Cast: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Ryan Lee, Amy Ryan, Jillian Bell, Halston Sage
A teenager teams up with the daughter of young adult horror author R. L. Stine after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on the town of Madison, Delaware.