User ReviewsReview this title
Led by two very entertaining kids, flanked by the always likeable Wendi McLendon-Covey and less so Ken Jeong the movies cast is a solid one.
SFX? Ropey in places but the movie is on a big scale, monsters of all shapes and sizes so the cgi is rife.
Plot? Highly generic stuff but passable enough to kill 90 minutes with.
So where do the real issues lay? Well the tone seems rather different, this doesn't feel like a loyal Goosebumps sequel it feels like something you'd watch on a Saturday morning with your kids. It feels like Kenan & Kel Halloween special, the horror is pretty much non-existent and instead is a full on goofy family comedy. That really damaged the film for me, sure I didn't expect actual horror but a degree of threat like the first movie would have been nice and not a full on children's movie. Absolutely no parental supervision needed for this one!
I enjoyed all the wacky monsters, I liked how bright and colorful the whole thing was and how the two leads managed to be likeable despite my hatred for kids. Haunted Halloween isn't bad, it's just very disappointing and if this is the direction they're going in then I'm not fussed for any more films.
Looks great for the most part
Cast do a decent job
CGI fails in places
Saturday morning tone did nothing for me
Overall, en enjoyable film, especially for the fans. But I'd have liked smarter dialog and plot, and more Jack Black. The special effects were great, no complaints there. The few kids in the audience seemed engaged, and they were scared at times, but not too much.
The story is about a young boy, Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and his best friend, Sam (Caleel Harris) who finds a book. When they open it, a doll called Slappy comes out! The boys lose the book, but keep Slappy. The friends are very surprised and a bit scared when they discover that the doll can talk. He seems nice at the beginning. He wants to have a family. But later, the boy, his sister Sarah (Madison Iseman) and his best friend realize he is strange and don't want him to be part of their family anymore. Slappy has his own personal agenda and decides to create his own family. He makes Halloween come to life as he invades the whole town with monsters and all the creatures as allies. This is a very scary Halloween for the town of Wardenclyffe, where the story takes place, as all creatures make real chaos. Sonny, Sam and Sarah team up with neighbor Mr. Chu (Ken Jeong) to find the book that Slappy from to figure out how to stop him. They discover that the book can suck up monsters and they are determined to save the city.
The story is based on R.L Stine's books. This is where Jack Black comes in as he reprises his role from the 2015 film, playing the writer who came to help. His performance as the author is excellent. I love his voice work giving life to Slappy the Dummy.
The movie is funny and spooky in equal amounts. There is mystery and discovery all combined in the storytelling. There's kind of a homage to horror films, as we see some classic monsters. My favorite scenes are the ones with the Halloween decorations coming to life in the store and the fight with the gummy bears that become real and attack Sonny and Sam.
The effects are very well done. This story focuses on the 3 main characters and the actors did a good job carrying the film. There's a tribute to the books and literature. There's a beautiful metaphor with the blank pages in the book which is powerful. It is so interesting and kind of reminded me that reality is scarier than fantasy and there will be more stories to be written. The message of this film is, "when we face our own fears we learn how not to be scared."
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween opens October 12, 2018 and is the perfect movie for kids this Halloween. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommended it for ages 6 to 13 and grown ups as well.
By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
An entertaining film for the whole family, and it has kid friendly scares just like the first Goosebumps film, and the book series. Effects are great, and the young actors are also good, Jack Black returns as R.L. Stine, my problem here he serves very little purpose being in the film. Madison Iseman who's in the film, I can't help but feel she looks familiar, and when She and Jack Black are on screen together, made me remember they both where in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle(2017), in which Jack Black played her character trapped in the body of a man.
It ends with you wanting a third installment.
Slappy is summoned (this time the curse like in the books and TV series bring him back to life) and he wants to be part of the family, only under the condition that everyone does exactly what he says. Sloppy, like in the books is very controlling and he does just that in Haunted Halloween. It's very intimidating to say the least, because Slappy goes from one person to the next (usually school bullies) getting even or causing trouble. All this happens in the first act, and it's off to a magnificent start. Story starts in just around 15 mins into the movie. After things don't go according to plan Slappy decides to summon his real family, the goosebumps characters! We'll let you work the rest out from there.
The effects are worse than the first movie, and the script wasn't as clever or genius like the first movie, and a lot of the jokes fell flat. The kid characters are also not as interesting as the ones from the first one. It really did have a lot to work on, but funny thing is despite all of that it's hugely entertaining! By the way, *SPOILER ALERT* Jack Black is in this playing R. L. Stine , but it's more of a cameo role. And the Stephen King reference should make you laugh! And one more spoiler, The Haunted Mask is in it, and gets loads of screen time! But, it's entertaining, fun to watch, and something you should definitely watch on Halloween. 4/5 stars. Jay and Nick.
All in all I thought goosebumps was very by the numbers and very predictable with an insane amount of plot holes, but with a good villain.
Fast forward 3 years and here's the sequel. 99% of the cast from the original is missing and the new characters aren't as interesting. They're serviceable but kind of forgettable. The story is also not as well paced as the original and is too fast for its own good coming in as a little too short. It needed about another 10 minutes or so in its last act.
But I can't hate it because it's still a lot of fun. Once again Slappy steals the show and there's some surprisingly creepy scenes involving him early on in the movie. The other Goosebumps monsters are fun too and the halloween setting puts a smile on my face. I also really dug the musical score by Dominic Lewis.
If you have kids I highly recommend taking them to this one. Although there might be a few scenes too scary for the younger ones it's the perfect horror movie for them to watch during the Halloween season.
Buy a ticket, some popcorn and a soda and have fun.
Goosebumps isn't going to wow you with what it has to say, nor does it have much to say in the first place, but this totally understands what it wants to be.
Like the books it's based off of, it's the scary movie starter kit for kids. You get your halloween fright monsters, you get some mild jump scares, you get inspired lunacy and funny references, some for kids, some clearly aimed at adults.
This movie is everything the first movie was and everything that House with the clock in the walls wanted to be.
If you're reviewing it, sure, you can come up with the problem that the plot is pretty much the same from the first movie but the first movie generally was just the creation of a playground to workout zaniness and frights anyway so as long as those work...
Here two kids find a book from R.L. Stine. It winds up bringing Stine's dummy Slappy back to life. Slappy in turn decides he wants to complete the story of one of Stine's earlier works and unleashes a bunch of monsters on the small town in order to do that.
The whole thing is a bunch of fun and nobody is having more of it than Jack Black. He voices Slappy with Crypt-keeper like precision, especially the laugh. He later shows up in person as Stine, full of hillarious mock arrogance.
Slappy is also sure to be the best character here, one who even at his most tame is really mischievous and at his most menacing is enough to make you fear for whoever he's around.
This is also another marvel for Sony Pictures animation. The visual effects, from the costumes in the halloween store that come to life to haunted pumpkins, to demonic gummy bears.
Every once in a while the mom from the Goldbergs or Ken Jeong will come in for some comedic support. The kid actors are fine too and there's a nice message about facing fears.
Really if I was 10 i'd think this was a great movie but even as an adult, I laughed at its absurdity while admiring how it balances being wacky, frightful, and also kid friendly.
If you like this, check out Craig James Review on Youtube for more
Based on the original promos, with a slashed production budget at first I was convinced this was to be a TV straight to DVD affair, how wrong I was. Director Ari Sandel delivers Impressive ghost and ghoul effects which are as impressive as the acting.
GooseBumps 2 may not have the scale or execution of the first but Sandel along with writers Rob Lieber and Darren Lemke offer just as much fun and it has just the same if not more PG eerie scares.
Whether it's was a marketing ploy or Jack Black wasn't going to return it was a pleasant surprise to see him return in the final film with an extended cameo. Also the real R. L. Stein also briefly appears.
The leads are likeable, Jeremy Ray Taylor as Sonny and Madison Iseman as Sarah Quinn carry the film well. Notable is Caleel Harris as Sam Carter, Sonny's best friend. Ken Jeong is humorous as the Halloween obsessed neighbor. However, Slappy is wonderfully realised and steals the show. Thankfully, with what look like for the most part as practical effects.
Overall, surprisingly good solid instalment, welcomingly setting up another outing.
Movie: Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018)
Director: Ari Sandel Writers: Rob Lieber (screenplay by), Rob Lieber (story by) Stars: Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jack Black, Madison Iseman
Family Friendly: The Goosebumps books have been a solid intro into the world of horror that brings kids into the fold of literature. This movie sticks to those guns and adds that kid friendly element to warrant a try for a family outing. Is it dark? Yes, but the studio managed to dilute the darkness to be manageable (for the most part) that kids should have a laugh at it. Case in point a three-year-old did very well in my viewing.
Good Pace: Short and to the point, this movie was a quick, fun adventure that did little to slow the antics down. From the get go, you'll be immersed into the adventure at hand, as what can be describes Stranger Things, meets a Disney vibe and is executed well. The fact that time seems to fly by is a good sign that this will be fun for most. Plus, 90 minutes is a good target goal in my opinion.
Creature Design: While certainly not as epic as Stine's descriptions in his book, the crew in the movie studio have done some decent research. The new creatures that inhabit the screen have got some flare to them, and while not the most realistic, at least have that same Stine vibe to them to still be easy for the little ones to handle.
The Use of Slappy: Slappy in the last film was not as utilized as I expected, reserved for a few jokes and that was it. The sequel though really brought him out in spades, using him to establish a bit ,ore of the horror element, while also grounding the story down. Slappy was much more himself in this installment, his malicious side mixed with his deceitful antics bringing back memories of the horror that was Slappy in his books. A solid antagonist to support the story, I enjoyed this character much more.
DISLIKES: Under Utilization of Characters: The kids get center stage and do well, but the older cast members not as involved as I was hoping. Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ken Jeong were reduced to a few short sequences, still bringing their tricks to trade, but not getting involved in the story like I had hoped. As for Jack Black, he's there, but not much more I can say . They really diluted "Stine's" part in this film and left me a little bummed with my Haunted Halloween treat.
Not as Much Nostalgia: Part of the fun of the last movie was all the references to the books and trying to find the cameos in their involvement. Sadly, this film short sheeted us in this factor. Yes, there are a few nods, but Haunted Halloween is trying to go a little more original than its predecessor. Nothing wrong with that, it's just I missed the find your childhood reference component from the first film.
More Creature involvement: Design might be good, but Haunted Halloween 2 didn't use their creatures to their full potential either. Many creatures get their kicks for a few seconds before being reduced to background images and occasional sound effect. Such a step down in this design, Haunted Halloween didn't have quite the spectacular impasses they wanted to bring in, and that left me feeling a little bored in terms of suspense.
Predictability/Trailer Spoilers: My friend Tim has shared wisdom of be careful what trailers you watch. These words are very applicable to this movie, as watch enough of the trailers and you have 80% of the movie. Haunted Halloween has little in terms of grand surprises, and by watching these trailers, you can skip this film in the theater.
The Story Component: It's not that the story was bad, but it was much less involved than the first installment. Very straightforward, very cliché, and very piecemeal that it feels like an unfinished manuscript. Slappy may have tied things together and made one heck of an antagonist, but their execution of his skill set was just missing something. Some of the antics, gimmicks, and threats were very lighthearted, and due to the kid atmosphere, I feel they threw some punches to not go too extreme to leave nightmares.
Goosebumps 2 has some fun little quirks that will be very appropriate for the family atmosphere of the movie. With good creature design and pacing it shows some promise to being the horror movie for the young and young at heart. However, the originality factor took a little from the adventure I enjoyed in the first installment, primarily at how disjointed this movie felt in integrating all its characters and creatures. It's a step back in quality overall, and you can skip this one due to the trailers, but not the worst movie to come out overall.
My scores are:
Adventure/Comedy/Family: 7.0 Movie Overall: 5.5
The entire thing is decent, but it is very standard. Jack Black's entertaining R.L. Stine is a bit part here and the interesting dynamic and obstacles of the kids from the first film is missing here. What ensues is a very by-the-numbers children's film. The actors playing the kids do a good job but they're given the most basic of characterizations and conflicts (complete with predictable school bullies). Wendi McLendon-Covey, Chris Parnell, and Ken Jeong all have fun supporting roles, but they're not big parts.
Monsters are fun. They are even a couple scenes with Slappy that are a little scarier than expected.
Kids should like this. At worst, parents will probably be indifferent. The movie is okay it just doesn't stand out.