The stories are alive!

Anyone who was a kid or had a kid over the past twenty years knows what Goosebumps are, and R.L. Stine finally gets an upgrade from the small screen to a major motion picture by Sony Pictures, and we’re satisfied.

A teenage boy Zach and his mom move to Delaware, where Zach promptly runs into his next door neighbor Hannah and her odd father. When Zach thinks Hannah is in danger, he springs to be savior, but things aren’t quite what they appear. Her dad is hiding a secret, and when Zach and his new friend Champ disregard the father’s warnings, amazingly scary things come to life.

Goosebumps the film is made for the kids, this isn’t the type of film that is trying to bridge the age gap at being universally beloved. Lucky for the film, its makers know their market and the children in my theater loved it, and for this kid at heart, we liked it too.

One of the smartest decisions the filmmakers made in making an R.L. Stine film adaptation of the beloved book series Goosebumps was casting Jack Black as the token ‘adult’ in the film. While we know Black has aged in real life, he is one of the few men in Hollywood who hasn’t lost his wonder, and that transcends the big screen. He may put on a funny accent for the role of R.L. Stine but he has the right sentiment and that is obvious to audience members.

The rest of the cast is equally wholesome and approachable, with each of the three teens (Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush and Ryan Lee) being equally effective in their roles. The characters they portray aren’t anything extraordinary or new, but they are archetypes we know and enjoy. The stand out among the three would be Odeya Rush and scenes where the kids are interacting with one another.

Goosebumps does one thing that we wish would’ve been a bit bolder, and that is stray away from the horror and air more on the side of family adventure comedy. It’s like Jumanji with zombies instead of a stampede of African wildlife. And that is also where it loses points for originality, as adult film goers will see the same plot line in a different skin, which is a tad disappointing for something as creative as the Goosebumps book series.

There are scares, especially for those ages 12 and under, almost all ‘jump scares’ of the fun variety. And that is the type of tone Goosebumps is aiming for, fun and entertaining. Of course, being a fan of the series when I was a kid, I hoped for the creatures from the pages of the books to be a bit more eerie, but alas.

Anyone who says this film is a complete disappointment must have lost their inner child ages ago. They are probably the type that says Santa Claus doesn’t exist either or that monsters under the bed aren’t real – and we all know those things are true. Goosebumps gets our seal of approval for popcorn, feet up, enjoyment.