Goosebumps : Movie Review

Goosebumps (2015) - Movie Poster
From 1992 to 1997, author R.L. Stine's "Goosebumps" book series was a force to be reckoned in the middle-grade literary market, earning spots on bestseller lists while capturing the imaginations of children with a taste for the creepy and fantastic. Aiming for a slightly younger demographic than the writer's successful YA horror novels (if the names "Fear Street" and "Point" sound familiar, you were likely a tween or teen in the 1990s), "Goosebumps" took off in a big way, ultimately breeding spin-offs, copious merchandise, and even a television series. As a lifelong lover of all things frightening who also happened to be exactly the right age to appreciate Stine's stories of evil dummies, haunted masks and monster blood, I was hooked, his chapter-by-chapter cliffhangers urging me to turn each new page. While new books in recent years have helped to revitalize the series for the latest generation of kids, it is the nostalgia of fans now in their 30s who undoubtedly hold the most affection for this brand.

The franchise's first big-screen foray wrangles together a heap of its various villains, a sort of greatest-hits showcase, but this concept sounds more promising than the mediocre reality. Director Rob Letterman (2010's "Gulliver's Travels") and screenwriter Darren Lemke (2013's "Jack the Giant Slayer") get off on the right foot setting up the colorful characters and a general wry sense of humor, but inspiration falters at the precise moment when the central plot should be kicking into high gear. That the films it most resembles—1984's "Gremlins," 1993's "Hocus Pocus," and 1995's "Jumanji"—are far superior only calls attention to the places this one falters. "Goosebumps" isn't as funny as it wants to be, as scary as it should be, or as magical as it needs to be.

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Author : Dustin Putman,