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Blu-Ray Review: Goosebumps is Great Fun for the Whole Family!

Goosebumps

When Zach and his mother relocate to a small town, he initially misses city life. But things start to look up when he meets next door neighbor Hannah. When Zach opens a manuscript in Hannah’s home, he inadvertently unleashes all of the monster’s from Hannah’s father’s (who happens to be R.L. Stine) books. The pair must then work in concert with Stine to put the author’s creations back in their books before they destroy the town and the world.

The Goosebumps feature film adaptation is directed by Robert Letterman (Monsters vs. Aliens) and written by Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, and Darren Lemke. Jack Black, Odeya Rush, Halston Sage, and Dylan Minnette star.

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this feature film adaptation of the popular children’s book series. I think that the idea of combining virtually all of the monsters from Stine’s various tomes was an ingenious one. Had the film just focused on one or two of the author’s works, it would have left much of his fanbase sorely disappointed. This all inclusive approached simultaneously appeals to the masses and proves to make for an enjoyable future film. My only complaint (and it’s extremely minor) is that I would have liked to have seen more screen time given to a few creatures, in particular. However, there’s only so much one can do with a catalogue of that size.

Goosebumps Slappy

I was quite pleased with the performances across the board. They are all quite good. Each role was smartly cast, particularly Jack Black as R.L. Stine. That was a decision I was originally very skeptical of, because I expected that he would channel all of his efforts into the film’s comedic aspects and ignore the intrinsic fright value of the Goosebumps series. Fortunately, he didn’t do that. Black opted to play the role fairly straight and much of the comedy comes from his uptight nature, rather than going for the easy or obvious laughs. A lot of that is thanks to a solid screenplay but I don’t want to undersell Black’s performance or Robert Letterman’s directorial approach, either.

Another thing that legitimately surprised me was just how good the CGI is. I had heard, repeatedly that nearly all of the FX work was done with the use of CG technology but what I hadn’t heard was just how well rendered it actually is. Trying to accomplish the same creations practically would have been close to impossible and (for once) I actually prefer the way that the CG technology looked. It wasn’t cartoonish or distracting and it helped the film more than it hurt.

GoosebumpsIn terms of scares, this is a great gateway film. It’s like The Monster Squad for the millennial generation and their kids. It’s the kind of film you can show your youngsters without feeling like a bad parent. It may be a bit too intense for very young viewers but children of appropriate age will find much to enjoy about this feature. And adults that grew up reading the Goosebumps books will have just as much, if not more, fun with it.

Goosebumps is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital HD. I would wholeheartedly recommend checking it out. The Blu-ray and digital HD releases include deleted scenes, an alternate ending, an alternate opening, and much more. The DVD release only includes a guide to surviving a Goosebumps creature and a making of featurette. Both of those are included in the Digital HD and Blu-ray versions, as well.

WICKED RATING: 7/10

Director(s): Robert Letterman
Writer(s): Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, and Darren Lemke
Stars: Jack Black, Odeya Rush, Halston Sage, and Dylan Minnette
Release: January 26, 2016 Blu-ray
Studio/ Production Co: Sony
Budget: $58 Million (Estimated)
Language: English
Length: 103 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Fantasy, Family Horror

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Written by Tyler Doupé
Tyler Doupe' is the managing editor at Wicked Horror. He has previously penned for Fangoria Mag, Rue Morgue Mag, FEARnet, Fandango, ConTV, Ranker, Shock Till You Drop, ChillerTV, ComingSoon, and more. He lives with his husband, his dogs, and cat hat(s).
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