Goosebumps books, they were a part of so many of us growing up. Steven King books for a child. Leaving you terrified after reading every book, but always desperate for the next installment. Starting in 1992 with From The Dead House and finishing the series in 1997 with MONSTER BLOOD IV 62 books later. Spawning a tv series running from 1995 to 1998 which was as terrifying as the book series. As well as several spin off books. The books have been printed in 32 different languages, selling between 1 and 4 million books a month during its peak. Growing up in the 90’s you just weren’t anybody unless you were reading his books!
Then one day the bubble just burst, leaving the books selling around 1 or 2 million copies a year. People moved on, found new books for their children to read. Leaving the books gathering dust on shelves as we all grew older. Then as adults we turned back to the books, and the tv series, bringing them to our children so they can share in all of this. Turning it into a cult classic.
Finally in 2016 the much talked about for years movie has released. Starring Dylan Minnette as Zach, the new kid moving into town for his mother who has a job as the new principle and hates the idea of being in the back of beyond. He lost his father a few years back, and takes care of his mother as best he knows how. So he sucks it up and tries to get on with his new life, hiding the box of his father's possessions under his bed so his mother doesn’t find it.
He meets a girl who lives in the house next door, Hannah (Odeya Rush) who tries to be friendly. However her father (Jack Black) keeps demanding that he keep away from her and the house or bad things will happen. Hannah breaks out and takes Zack to explore his new town, taking him deep into the woods where he starts to wonder if she is going to kill him and hide the body. They end up at a half build amusement park which Hannah shows Zach around. Climbing up the old ferris wheel in a moment that screams Divergent the movie to me.
After they get back her father locks her in the house and Zach thinks he sees through the window Hannah being hit by her father. He calls the police, dragging them around to look for Hannah but her father claims she has gone back to be with her mother. Zach tries to get on with school, and a starting friendship with a nerd at school (Champ played by Ryan Lee). When he sees Hannah through the window again on prom night he rings Champ to fake he has dates for them. So they can break into the basement of her house, to try and find Hannah. Worried for her safely, Zach and his friend face bear traps to even get into the house.
Champ finds a bookshelf full of original Goosebumps manuscripts, all locked and a key. He loves Goosebumps, and is interested in how on earth so many of them are in one place while Zach is less than impressed. Hannah appears and tries to stop them, but it's too late. A book gets opened and a monster escapes. One who they have to track down and lock back into its book.
Dad is NOT impressed when he follows them and locks the monster away himself. Dragging them back to the house, ordering Hannah to pack and the boys to leave before anything else happens. If only that was the only monster that had been released. Slappy, a puppet is waiting for them. A puppet with ideas above its station of releasing every monster from every book to destroy his creator. A puppet that gave me nightmares for years after I read the first book as a child.
This film may have been years in the making, but worth every single moment of it. Jack Black’s perfect brand of sarcasm brings the film to life with many one liners between himself and the main cast. Such as Zach trying to get him to admit he is R L Stine in the car driving back to the house, insulting his work until Jack Black snaps back. Or later when all the monsters come to life Zach moans why couldn’t he have written about unicorns and rainbows. Stine replying Unicorns and rainbows do not sell 400 million copies!
I loved this film from start to finish, please to see what a wide range of ages were in my showing. From young children, to middle age like me remembering their past pleasure in reading, to old couples all enjoying it alike. My only issue with the film is I wish it had been much longer. Taken time to explore the monsters more. I understand that they had to keep to a shortened length as it is only a children’s film. However I see several places where they should have taken a lot more into the plot. Such as the greatly underused graveyard scene. Other than revealing something about Hannah it had little use, an old Goosebumps book would never have had crossing a graveyard be so uneventful. I really hope for a large number of extended scenes on the dvd release.
totally gripping storyline 5/5 stars.
Sarah Beth James