The Goosebumps movie is property of Sony/Columbia Pictures
Hello, Spongey here.
…Well, here we are. This shall by my final weekly review. It’s so weird to finally be here. It feels like just yesterday I thought of stopping in June. Of course this isn’t my last for good, as I said before, but I’ll go into that at the end.
The ending is where I’ll go into more detail on future plans, for now we’ll focus on what I’m doing for my final weekly review. In this month, we’ve covered all the usual subjects I cover, so there was only one option left.
Yep, Goosebumps. It’s strange how this has become a big thing on here. I did one or two blogs on it back on Blogger, then I randomly reviewed all of the original series from there. Now it’s one of my main things.
Goosebumps has become one of those big guilty pleasure things that I really think about, like the Disney Channel stuff. A lot of it is technically not good, but I get plenty of enjoyment out of it. And when you analyze some of it, there is a bit more than meets the eye sometimes.
I’ve branched out to other R.L Stine works, and media based on his work. So it was only a matter of time before I got to this. Yeah, Goosebumps is a hugely popular book series, so it was only a matter of time before it got a film adaptation.
It is surprising it til took til 2015 for this to happen though. One reason could be that this series is so huge that it took a while to find the right concept, nevermind the right writers/director. But after so long, it was finally green light for real.
What they went with seemed…usunaul. Instead of being an anthology like some expected, it’s about the Goosebumps books themselves, and how the monsters escape into the “real” world. This on it’s own is fine, but some found it interesting that not only would R.L. Stine be a character in it, but their casting decision as an odd choice.
But we’ll get to that. Some people were unsure, but it ended up not only making decent money, but got decent reviews. Nothing crazy (77 on RT) but people mostly enjoyed it for the concept and humor.
And yeah, I share that opinion. We’ll obviously go into more detail as we go, but I enjoyed it as much as I expected. And yes, I saw this in theaters because I just had to, and I also had to get the DVD.
This had good timing since it made for the perfect subject for my final review. I mean, my enjoyment of Goosebumps says a lot of how I view media in general, to an extent. So for my final weekly hurrah, we’ll dive into this.
But first creative team. Our credited writers have such classics as Problem Child and Agent Cody Banks. …I assume this is better. Our director is the guy behind…Shark Tale and Guiilver’s Travels Huh. I know Shark Tale is pretty scary…but Goosebumps isn’t, so it is odd.
And while there are better choices, he did prove to be fine. So it’s time to close the book on weekly reviews. Readers before, you’re in for…well not a scare, but certainly something.
This, is Goosebumps
After finding out this movie based on a book series is partily made by a company called “Original Film”, the movie opens with our main character Zack, played by Dylan Minnete (figures we’d have an actor from Haunting Hour) driving with his Mom to a new house.
Yep, it’s a Goosebumps Movie all alright. Also, I know most GooseBumps most open like this, but you think a Kiddie Horror Film like this would have a more mysterious opening. The shots of green fields don’t it the creepy score and logo.
We see that Zach is bit more a snarky smartass than most Gooosebumps protagonist, mostly because he’s around 14 rather than 12. This is fine since it works better for a film than a smaller kid.
They arrive at their house, and not too long after that, Aunt Gale arrives.
“Live from New York it’s your Sister gale! …It’s a SNL reference, because you lived in New York”
Explaining jokes. I like her already.
“You were such an ugly baby”
Questionable Aunting Alert.
Zach goes outside and bumps into a girl name Hannah, who is platonic friend for the story. Her name is interesting, because Troy Steele made jokes about how often GB used that name…even though it was only used twice. Think is an intentional nod to that to an extent?
Well, it kind of is, but you’ll see. They start to hit off but her Dad pulls her away.
“You stay from her Daughter, you stay away from me, we won’t have a problem”
He seems nice. Trust me, I’ll comment on him further when it’s more relevant.
Gale tells us his name is Mr. Shivers. Huh, Shivers is one of those GoooseBumps rip off series. Think he knows Mr BoneChillers?
Then out nowhere, we have a bit implying Zach’s Dad is dead. A bit dark for Goosebumps, but okay. Not much comes of it though. The next day, Zach goes to school where first off is an assembly thing.
Here he bumps into the male friend, Champ. He’s kind of annoying, but I guess I can tolerate for the sake of enjoying this. And yes, his name is Champ. No weirder than Hat or Foz, I guess. Zach’s Mom happens to be Vice Princpelr (hence why they moved) which is totes embarrassing.
“We are so excited for Friday’s fall dance, we can’t stop Twerking about it!”
“Oh she didn’t”
My thoughts exactly. Champ, please break the tension.
“You taking anyone to the dance?”
That’ll do, I guess.
“We should go together”
“Oh, not like Together Together”
After…that, we cut to later (since nothing important ever happens to new kids on their first day) as Zach bumps into Hannah again to share some banter. Hannah takes him to her hideout, which is a an abandoned Carnival.
A good setting for a magical semi romance scene. That Feriss Wheel they are going on is doing down in an action scene, by the way. Even on first viewing, I knew that. Jokes aside, this scene is cute enough and has some amusing banter.
Whoa, no one would use that language in Goosebumps!
After that, they go home, and Hannah’s Dad catches them so he can be intense again. Later that night, Zach hears them arguing, and then a crashing sound. Oh man, this is turning into some Rear Window stuff!
He knocks on Hannh’s Door and Dad says nothing is up. This is just odd enough for Zach to call the police. Spoilers, he makes himself look like a fool because he has no evidence. These two cops show up, and they are quite funny.
One is a bit trigger happy due to being new, and the other is normal. I don’t know, I find their banter to be amusing but they are in only like 2 scenes. Mr. Shivers tells the Hannah went back to London Yesterday morning, we know he’s lying.
Yeah, usually this scene would be done in a way where it seems like Zach might be crazy, but nope. They hear a scream, but it’s just a movie he was watching. Even the GB movie has false scares!
“I didn’t know being an Audiophile was a crime”
“A WHAT a phile?!”
It goes without saying that no one believes Zach. One cop jokes that he’s on drugs. Okay, twerking, gay joke, pedphile, drugs, is this seriously a Goosebumps product?!
Mom has to go to the school to take care of the dance, so Aunt is put in charge. Zach still finds a way to sneak out, and gets some help to take care of this situation. And by help I mean Champ. Yay.
Zach lures Mr. Shivers away by calling him and pretending to be the police calling him to the station. Yes, he falls for that. Zach and Champ sneak into his house. He bumps into a Cuckoo Clock on the way in. Normally I wouldn’t mention that but given what’s in here, this could be an intentional reference.
Things pick up when they stumble upon a a Bookcase, which has some interesting books.
“The Scarecrow walks at midnight, The Ghost Next Door, Night of the Living Dummy..”
Yep, it’s a bunch of Goosebumps manuscripts. If you pause, you’ll notice even more titles, including some Give Your Goosebumps, oddly enough. Oh, and also Chicken Chicken. That’s a more obscure original series title, so I’m convinced that was intentional.
“These aren’t Kids’ Books. Kids books help you fall asleep. These books keep you up all night.”
You keep telling yourself that. Okay, some people say there’s a bit too much worshiping of the books in this, and honestly that line is as bad as it gets, the rest is pretty free of that level. Plus, Champ is said to be a scardey cat, so him being scared of Goosebumps means nothing.
“The Abominable Snowman of Pasenda. My Grandma lives in Pasadena. I stopped visiting after reading this”
Why? He came from somewhere else and pretty much did nothing.
Then Hannah pops up out of nowhere and before she tells them to get out, she notices they opened the Snowman book. This is a problem, because once it’s open, The Abonible Snowman comes out of it, looking nothing look his cover counterpart.
I’ve seemed a bit harsh on this movie so far, but that’s just because it doesn’t quite get going until now. It’s okay so far but now it gets good, and even with the problems coming, it’s stlll consistently enjoyable.
The creature knocks a bunch of books over and runs out into the streets.
“I read what it did to Pasadena, it’s no joke man”
He did nothing to Pasadena, he unfroze people and ran off! He literally did more in this movie so far than in the book!
Hannah follows the Abominable Snowman to an Ice Rink to put him back in the book. This leads to a pretty fun setpeice, which ends with Mr. Shivers showing up and sucking the monster back into the book.
Pissed off, he makes everyone get in the car.
“You had to pick Abominable Snowman of Pasadena, you couldn’t have picked Little Shop of Hamsters”.
I love that line, I don’t know why. Zach thinks this could be a certain Goosebumps author. He denies it of course.
“Just as well because his books suck. I can’t decide which one I hate more Monster Blood or Go Eat Worms”
Easy for me, Go Eat Worms.
“You see the endings coming from a mile away”
Did Troy Steele write this?
“Stop trying to be Stephen King man”
“Let me tell you something about Steve King. Steve King wishes he could write books lke me, and I’ve sold way more books than him!”
On that note, time to talk about Jack Black as R.L. Stine. This casting choice was odd to some people, but most ended up being okay with it. Mostly because they wisely made him his own character instead of just doing Stine.
Cuz if you know Stine, you know he’s not the best at emoting, as you may as well change him. And Jack Black is easily the best part of this movie. He manages to be pretty intense, and quite amusing in moments. He just sells this role and pretty much steals the show. I mean, that Stephen King could have failed, but he managed to make it work.
He even works in terms of the story, but we’ll get to that.
When they get home, Stine explains what is going on. As a kid, he was forced to stay indoors, so he created his own friends which happened to be monsters.
“And one day they actually…became real”.
I’d ask for an explanation but in GooseBumps this stuff usually has no explanation , so I’ll let it slide.
Then he just says they are safe is the books stay locked, no explanation for the books and such. I recall that he wrote them to contain the monsters, but he doesn’t say that here so maybe I’m crazy. But this is a passable enough backstory for the moment.
Stine plans to move again but he is stopped when sees a certain book has been opended unleashing…
Slappy. Oh yeah, you knew he was coming. He’s pretty much the main villain, which shouldn’t be a surprise at all. He is also played by Jack Black which is amusing. And yes, Slappy is every bit as awesome in this as you would hope.
“Aw shucks you’re giving me-oh what’s the word…Goosebumps!”
Slappy says he’s gonna mess stuff up, and he takes all the books, opening a few. He leaves in The Haunted Car. Nice to see Series 2000 being a major part in some way. Our heroes try to leave, but are stopped by the lawn gnomes, oh joy.
At least they are somehow way scarier than in the book, as they are made to look more realistic, and they don’t talk.
“Maybe they’re friendly”
They came from a Goosebumps book, WHAT DO YOU THINK!? Sorry, I always thought that line was dumb when I saw it in the trailer.
After a Guilver’s Travel’s reference (hardy har), they manage to escape.
“Why couldn’t you have written about rainbows and unicorns?’
“Because that doesn’t sell 400 million copies”
It does get you a large and crazy fanbase.
They see that Slappy is burning the books so the monsters can’t go back in.
“It’s Slappy’s Revenge…That’s a good title”
That’s the title of one of the film’s tie in books, which is likely a reference to this line. Also, you kind of did that with Revenge of the Living Dummy. It didn’t work.
Slappy drives around opening books, like one which plant creautres I think are from Give Yourself Goosebumps. Again, odd that they included them especially since they aren’t in print anymore, at least until they did a couple reprints to tie in to the movie. But hey, nice nod either way.
We cut to the cops from earlier, as one mentions having The Blob on Laserdisc. …Sure this isn’t set in the 90’s? Slappy comes in along with aliens with freeze guys. These guys have to be from GYB cuz there’s no freeze gun aliens in any main Goosebumps book I know of.
Speaking of GYB, the vampire poodle from one of them attack the aunt. Yeah, you can tell I’m trying to list every monster I recognize. Back with Stine, they suggest he write a book he can suck the monsters into.
He thinks this can work but they need his special typewriter as I suppose that brings the monsters to life and can thus get rid of them. I see how he got the idea for The Blob that Ate Everyone.
They get on the road, and they randomly bump into…something.
“It’;s the invisible boy”
….The only invisible boy I can think of is from…My Best Friend is Invisible. As in, the GB book I picked as the worst. Never mind, this movie gets a 0 out of 10.
Also, his name was Brent, dude. Speaking of books I don’t like, the next obstacle is the mantis from Shock Street, who is clearly not a robot here.
“I don’t remember writing about a giant praying mantis…Right, now I remember”
I don’t get this joke, why wouldn’t he remember something from the very cover of the book if he remembers the other monsters?
They escape and hide out in a store for our next set piece. Yeah, this takes up a lot of the movie, but it’s directed well enough to work. And we do have story bits coming up. For now, here’s The Werewolf of Fever swap. No mention of him being Will, by the way.
One chase scene later, they escape and bump into Aunt Lorraine, who shares a moment with Stine. Again, ew. They tell her to get the police to meet them at the school and they move on. And of course a shortcut to the school goes through the Cemetery.
Champ explains that this is real name, as his parents were actually omplci people and named Champ in hopes of him being as good as they are. This is all we get of this, even though this does sound like the start of potential complexity for him. I smell a deleted subplot!
And then comes a twist. Yes, a midway twist and not an ending Twist. This is where the film gets even more interesting. …But I’ll get to in a sec, cuz it’s intertuped by a chase scene so when they discuss it, I’ll go over it.
They are attack by zombies which Stine calls Ghouls, implying they are Graveyard Ghouls, even though they were not at all like normal zombies. They escape and get to the High School to get Stine’s typewriter. Now we can discuss the twist. The moon shined on Hannah, and she became a bit see through.
This part confirms that Hannah is infact, a book character and not Stine’s actual daughter. Before I go into the story aspect of this, I should say when I first saw this, I thought she was see through cuz she’s from a book and thus not totally real.
But they never establish that as a rule of book characters. Infact, Zach just assumes she’s not real as in one bit he sees that then next he tells Stine this like it’s the truth. I think there’s a scene missing. Anyway, her being like that can only be explained by her being a ghost. And since her name is Hannah,…
Yeah, she’s Hannah from The Ghost Next Door. This is pretty much the only explanation, and it has been confirmed in various behind the scenes stuff. It’s interesting how a certain book was picked to be a major part of the human plot.
Thankfully, this works if you don’t know that book’s twist with what happens. Although I don’t know why Stine picked that character to be his daughter. Maybe that’s why he had her parents die in the book. He created her because he was lonely. Dang, lonely only 10 books in?
Okay, I’ll stop nitpicking this.
Zach relates to this since he shut everyone out after his Dad died. Okay, let me say that in general…this twist is actually great. Like, genuinely good. For one, I didn’t see it coming. You can argue it’s out of nowhere, but it fits with what was established with Stine.
It’s better than making it too obvious. And on a story level, this adds more depth to Stine’s character. It explains a lot, and when he talks about her you just see how much he cares about her.
It’s kind of a sweet element, and further shows why Stine is the best part of the movie in every way. Anyway, back to the plot.
“You look like you just saw a ghost”
Now Stine has his typewriter and must create a story to put the monsters back into.’
“It doesn’t work unless it’s a real Goosebumps story, and turns, and frights. Not to mention some personal growth for our hero”
The last one rarely happens in Goosebumps. Stine goes to the auditorium and sees they are putting on a play of The Shining.
…What kind of school puts on The Shining?
The others get to the school dance and try to warn everyone but shock of all shocks, no one believes them. So word of monsters running around, likely causing property damage, didn’t come to this school? The monsters aren’t exactly being discreet.
And of course this is when they arrive at the school. Slappy finally unleashes the rest of the monsters, giving us an epic crowd shot for the trailer. Along with a billion cameos you have to pause to see.
Okay here’s who I clearly saw: Mummy, Jack o Lanterns, Egypt Looking Chick (likely villain from Return of the mummy), Clown, Evil Scientist dude, Lord High Exuectionor, Toy Robots,, and then I gave up and looked up a bunch of lists on the internet. There’s a lot and it’s fun to see which ones you can spot.
I like the variety, as like I said, they include GYB and even a few newer ones. The clown is from When The Ghost Dog Howls. But no Menace for the same reason they shouldn’t have had Chernabog in Mickey’s House of Villains.
It’s worth nothing these shots are the only time you see The Haunted Mask, and someone (likely Carly Beth is wearing it). I have no idea why one of the most iconic Goosebumps creatures got neglected. Monster Blood doesn’t’ even formerly appear at all, I think.
Anyway, Champ sees a girl he likes being chased by the werewolf and saves her by biting him. He has silver fillings. It’s dumb. She doesn’t seem to mind because she kisses him. I’m so glad Champ got his girl, that was so important.
Slappy comes in and approaches Stine.
“I know you , I created you…or was it the other way around”
This is interesting because they do tease that being a possible twist, with Jack Black voicing Slappy being a further hint. But nothing comes of it, so whatever. He’s just about to finish his book when he is torn away by the kids getting him away from Slappy.
Stine thinks he needs to face Slappy since he caused this stuff to begin with by making the monsters. It’s him they went so he lures them out by pretending to get away on a bus but actually getting away on a different bus.
The fake bus had explosives which blow up the monsters. It says they’re from the school’s chem lab, so maybe they can come up with stuff like that, I don’t know.
This really only just delays the monsters, as they case our heroes to the abandoned carnival where Stine tries to finish the book. Slappy barges in and after pushing the Stine is Slappy thing again, he unleashes a big red blob. Ah, Monster Blood!
“it’s The Blob that Ate Everyone”
…No. That was pink, this thing is red and mostly acts like Monster Blood.
Stine has Zach finish the book while he deals with the blob, so the kids run to the Ferris wheel. He finishes it, but not before the monsters make the Ferris Wheel fall off and go crazy. Told ya.
They get out fine, and now they just need to open the book and suck the monsters in it. But wait, Hannah is a book character, so to put all the monsters in…she has to go too. …Yeah, this gets a bit heavy.
And surprise, she already knows she’s not real.
“How many sweet 16’s can one girl have?”
Eh, works in context as a way to just us going to our big moment. This bit makes the twist stronger, as Hannah is willingly to be sucked in, knowing how much she means to her sort of father.
“It’s time to move on”
She even opens it herself. This makes it all sweet and further pushes some of the themes going on. With that, the monster start to back in the book where they belong, with Stine personally kicking Slappy in.
This of course means Hannah goes in a sweet moment where she kisses Zach. Hey, I’ve seen worse paced romances in these reviews. With that, she goes in the book, and it is closed.
With how it’s presented, I’d say that’s a decent enough climax. What’s interesting is that there is a nice silent moment with them after the book closes, instead of a big cheer or something. Wait, shouldn’t it have been Stine letting Hannah go-oh whatever.
We cut to sometime later, as school is back in session after fixing the damage done to it. ‘We see that Stine and Lorraine have hooked up. Another epic romance we see every bit of
Speaking of Stine, he’s adjusted to the point where he is now the English teacher.
“Every story ever told can be broken down into 3 distinct parts. The beginning, the middle…and the twist!”
I love that line for some reason.
After class, they bump into ….the real Stine. Yeah ,they couldn’t resicting giving the real Stine a cameo. He plays Mr Black (get it?), the Drama teacher. And what does he say?’
“Hello, Mr Stine”
Okay, the idea itself is enough to make the cameo worth it.
But then they follow that it up with something stupid: Hannah is back. Yes, he wrote one more book to bring her back and burns it so she stays. This is dumb because it makes that sweet moment and moral pretty much pointless. Even Goosebumps doesn’t resort to this kind of Hollywood ending
But whatever, it’s cute I guess. Also, there’s an alternative ending on the Blu Ray where this bit doesn’t happen, so this must have been very last minute. But of course, it’s not Goosebumps without a scary twist.
So Stine hears his typewriter in the trophy case. Someone is typing something on it..
“The Invisible Boys’ Revenge”
The end. …Wow, that was lame. First off all, how is he fitting in the trophy case? Brent isn’t that big. 2nd of all, really? Him? The guy even I forgot about because his cameo was so brief? Why not Slappy? The actual villain? That happens in the Alternative ending!
The concept of the ending itself is fine, but using the invisible boy is dumb. It makes a cool shot to end on. Also, slightly abrupt but fine enough as things are wrapped up okay.
I got that out of the way to mention that they make up for it with an AWESOME credits bit, done in the style of Goosebumps cover. It’s awesome and the Danny Elfman score makes it even better.
It’s like the ending to TMNT Out of Shadows. The ending is slightly weak but before you think of the issues, the credits are so awesome you think back on your screening fondly. Also, at one point there’s a sign saying “Reality Police Department”
In a way, this film sums up what it was like doing these reviews. Yes, I had to sit through some dumb moments and odd choices, but in the end it was worth it to see some cool things. This movie has plenty of problems, as both a fan and a critics.
While it doesn’t take itself too seriously, I think they could have made fun of Goosebumps more. While there’s no dick sucking and Stine is mocked slightly, perhaps a more self aware slant could have worked.
I wasn’t expecting anything huge, but a bit more than what we got. As a fan, I did want certain monsters but there’s only so many references you can fit, I guess. Also, they could have explained Stine a bit better and how he brought these monsters to life.
And no mention of any Stne works other than the Goosebumps books. Not even the TV Show is mentioned. I know this is clearly an AU but perhaps a reference would have been nice. As a critic, I feel the pacing could have been better. A lot of it spent on chase scenes which is fine, but it means part of the actual story feel a bit rushed.
Certain elements aren’t done the best, and the big moment could have been better if there was more to it. And if Stine said bye to her, like I said. Also, it starts a bit rough with some weak jokes, and Champ is kind of annoying.
And usually that stuff would drag the film down more, but I can get past it due to what they got right. For one, the monsters are cool to see, Slappy is awesome, and the set pieces are mostly fun, thanks to a pretty solid score.
But as I said, Jack Black as Rl Stine steals the show. Not only does he get the best line, but the way he plays Stine makes him really enjoyable, and he has some funny reactions. I’m not sure what it is, but something about his performance just works.
And as a character, he’s good. He has a solid backstory, and the Hannah twist is very well done, giving us some sweet moments. Yeah her coming back is lame, but I can let it slide.
Overall, this movie certainly could have been better in some place, but in general it is solid fun. Really, it could have been worse when you think about it. Let’s just be glad it’s decent as it is, with some cool monsters, sweet moments, and a really solid protrayl of R.L Stine
Fans will certainly enjoy it, although Non-Fans may be a bit more mixed. Really, it’s quality reflects the source materiel. Some of it’s dumb, some of it is surprisingly good. Even with it’s flaws, it’s about what I expected.
We shall be getting a sequel, and I shall be there when it happens. I’m not sure what you can do without rehashing it, but it should be fun. Thank you for creating a decently solid Goosebumps flick.
And there you, the final scheduled weekly review. A fitting way to end it if you ask me. Like I said, this isn’t the end. Now I’ll just do reviews when I feel like it. You could like 4 month in a month, or 4 in the span of a year, you never know. But in general, I won’t take too long between them. They just aren’t weekly.
Basically, I no longer have a schedule. From this point on I will try to do more work and maybe watch the film first to see if it’s worth reviewing at all. We’ll see. Even though it’s not the end, it feels weird not doing reviews on a schedule.
I just wanna say through all the ups and downs, I loved doing this. I got to look at some interesting films, for better or worse. It was worth sitting through A Serbian Film to watch Robocop.
I thank pretty much any read whose read a review, and all that good stuff. I won’t get too sappy since this still isn’t the end, but the end of anything gets me sappy sometimes. And trust me, this blog will still be plenty active, I have tons of project ideas, and general reviews coming up.
There will be no play by play reviews in July to give me a break ,but I’ll have tons of that other stuff in the meantime. I’m not quite sure what else to say. Thanks for sticking with me if you did, and I hope you stick around for my other stuff that I have planned.
Not sure what the next full review shall be, but I will have one in August. In the meantime, look forward to a special TV review this week ,and the end of Goosebumps Horrorland Arc 1 this Thursday.
With that, I suppose that’s all I got. Thanks once again and all that.