Goosebumps The Movie
"Viewers beware you're in for a scare"
I don’t usually review movies for a younger audience, however, I am going to talk about 'Goosebumps' because this film is awesome.
I only saw this film because I read the books as a child and grew up watching the TV show in the 90s.
Going into this film I did not expect much and presumed the highlights of the movie had been covered in the trailer like most children's films theses days, I'm pointing my finger at you Inside Out (2015).
This is a rare treat… It's very rare a film comes around that captivates the feeling of an 80s teen adventure movie, such as Night of the Comet (1984) The Goonies (1985), Gremlins (1986), and both Monster squad and Adventures in Babysitting (1987).
However this nostalgic essence one gets from viewing Goosebumps the movie is a feeling written directly into the horror novels, and this film does stay true to the spirit of the source material.
The film is even self-aware of the references and homage's the original books have lifted from cinema and at times it's like watching a double homage to both mediums.
To define a postmodern standpoint of the current age we live in where there is a generation of people who probably are not familiar with the original material the books and this film reference there is such is a scene: in which a police officer quotes The Blob (1958) to the reaction of a baffled deputy, which later in the film almost becomes some sort of meta humour.
The film itself is not trying to be retro but true to the material it represents, going as far to reference retro technology such as the Laserdisc, Hi-8 cameras, even an old school calculator and not forgetting the ancient typewriter being preserved behind glass as if it were being displayed in a museum from the future. These are all things true of the 80s and 90s when the Goosebumps books were written, all this retro-tec is featured to an absence of smartphones, tablets and laptops.
This helps the film break away from the trappings of modern horror and teen films where the characters are consumed by their modern prosthesis's, in spite of this innovative retro direction we fall back into the traps and clichés of 80s horror and teen dramas, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
The characters are all likeable, not one bad performance and mostly all strong throughout. Jack Black is on top form as R. L. Stine, Dylan Minnette is handsome and Odeya Rush is beautiful and they do that very well.
But it is Ryan Lee who steals nearly every scene he is in, this guy had me in stitches from the minute his character introduced himself, Lee's scream is the best scream in film history, hands down a bonafide scream queen.
Now the monsters the CGI… well I hate CGI monsters and I love the practical effects of the 80s even with the restriction, However, the monsters in this film were great the CGI was perfect for the tone and the creatures felt like the cover art of the books had just come alive and started terrorising the town. Filled with emotion the monsters are awesome and kept me captivated.
Also, for the most part, the CGI is kept to real life standards, so you don’t get too many moments with crazy physics defying impossibilities most films go for nowadays.
Oh and a barking werewolf, not a howling werewolf! No, a barking werewolf, the werewolf barks like a dog… so freaking awesome.
The story is strong and updates some themes of older movies; there are a lot of homages's to other horror films such as Fright Night (1985), I do wish there had been a little bit more of a romance between the two leads as it does come across obvious at times as a subplot element, and the ending was predictable but satisfying.
I feel that the film could have been much longer, as it is very fast paced and sometimes hard to catch a breath and keep up with the action, the horror is sacrificed heavily for the more comedic moments but a younger audience probably will find some shocks.
One could say this is just Jumanji (1995) with monsters, but so was Cabin in the Woods (2012) though this is too much of an easy connection to slate a film over.
Director Rob Letterman really fell into the shoes of his inner child on this film, and the passion is visible in every single frame.
I would really be happy seeing another one of these every Halloween, I did see some sequel baiting but it was all in good spirit.
Overall Goosebumps exceeded every one of my expectations, it is safe family horror fun with a solid story, solid characters, and a great nostalgic nod to the films of the 80s.
I give this film a 3 out of 5 stars.
Only 3 stars… This is an amazing film. However it is way to fast with some events and situations just being resolved way too easily, I also wish the film had been slightly longer as to have developed a better romance and have had an all out siege battle at the school.
This is a must watch for any fan of horror and of the Goosebumps novels.
Was released in the US for Halloween, UK audiences will see it hit cinemas February 2016.
Watch this film, it's so, so, SO much fun.