Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – Goosebumps


Goosebumps was a charming and silly film for all ages.  I’ll admit that I haven’t read as many Goosebumps books as most kids my age, so the dozens of references to books past went over my head.  From what little I have read, though, this captures the spirit of the franchise perfectly.  I’ll admit that the first third was stumbling quite a bit with some really painful clichés.  The main character’s aunt was really painful to watch, there was a lot of gendered jokes that fall flat in today’s age of bronies, Steven Universe, and gender fluidity, and the comic relief commits the worst crime that comic relief can commit: not being funny.  Okay, he has a few funny lines, but most of the humor comes from the reaction others have to him rather than wit on his own part.  There’s also a part involving the police being so incompetent in their job that it was kind of insulting, even more so because I don’t think the writers were trying to be satirical with it.

Once the monsters start appearing, however, things really get good.  While the monsters aren’t Weta Workshop quality of realistic, I don’t think they’re supposed to be.  There’s a charm and fun to be had in knowing they’re not real, harkening to some of the goofiness of the series.  Jack Black as R.L. Stine is an absolute joy to watch, tempering his own manic quirkiness with a healthy dose of creepiness.  Another saving grace of this film is our main antagonist, a ventriloquist dummy named Slappy.  I love everything about him from the way he moves (both on camera and between shots), his disturbing demeanor, and his dives into absolute hamminess. On top of that, it was really clever that Slappy, being one of Stine’s creations, was also voiced by Jack Black.

Amidst all the creepiness and humor both failed and successful, there’s a decent amount of heart to it and the film even takes some time for some quiet moments.  There’s a really powerful scene between Stine and the main character near the end that I won’t spoil for you.  No words are exchanged, just Stine putting his hand on the boy’s shoulder and a simple look exchanged between them that says it all.  Like I said before, I was not the intended audience for this movie, but I still heartily enjoyed it.  It takes a really special movie to pull itself out of the hole in the beginning I first thought inescapable.  But Goosebumps fans will definitely love it and for good reason.  Aside from the many references and cameos from the books, it’s delightfully cheesy, has a decent amount of frights, plenty of character growth, and ends with a fun little twist in the last minute that will give you a shock and a laugh.  And in that respect, it’s pretty much the best Goosebumps adaptation we’ll ever get.

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