Four Stars or Less: ‘Goosebumps’ remake will thrill kids

Shane Freeman

Shane Freeman

Looking back at my childhood, I remember how much of an influence the “Goosebumps” novels had on me. They were my core reading material during my elementary years. As I got older, the books began collecting dust and were deposited in an attic box to be forgotten.

I hadn’t thought of the “Goosebumps” series in ages when a new movie trailer suddenly brought back the memories.

Starring Jack Black as author R.L. Stine, “Goosebumps” tells the tale of a new kid in town, Zach, who befriends his next-door neighbor Hannah, the author’s daughter. Unsettled by their first encounter with Stine, Zach enters the house when he hears a frightening scream. They come across the original “Goosebumps” manuscripts which are locked up. That doesn’t stop him  from using a found key to unlock one, thus unleashing the true horrors from the books as the monsters become real.

There have been many TV adaptations of “Goosebumps” stories, but this film takes a different approach by focusing on the author and the whole series rather than a single story. Even though I loved the books as a kid, I had pretty low expectations for this film based on the trailers. As silly as the premise seemed, though, it actually worked.

Fueled by an intriguing and quirky performance from Black, the film holds its own and doesn’t fail to surprise. The rest of the young actors held their own throughout the film. The characters might connect better with high-schoolers, but the film as a whole seems to aim for a younger audience. Some moments could be scary to younger children, but the movie doesn’t go out of its way to frighten them.

 On the whole, I thought “Goosebumps” was a smart film. It had every chance to flop, but its content overcame the failure by creating a sense of nostalgia.

Rating: 3/4