Film Review: Goosebumps

Goosebumps

Based on the bestselling series of children’s books, Goosebumps is a very enjoyable adventure. The film features the right blend of comedy, adventure and horror to make it an entertaining watch.

Teenager Zach and his mother relocate from New York to a small town for her new job. Zach is intrigued when he meets next door neighbour Hannah, but her mysterious father is not keen on the friendship. When things take a supernatural turn, Zach and Hannah go about setting things right…

Director Rob Letterman’s Goosebumps should prove to be an entertaining picture for most audiences. The film will best suit older children and young teenagers, although it is entertaining for viewers outside this demographic. Goosebumps functions as an adventure film, with healthy elements of comedy and horror. There is good level of mystery which drives forward the narrative initially.

The film references the book series it is based on in an explicit way. This is not an adaptation of a Goosebumps tale, rather it is a film about the book series. As such, the film works better than an adaptation would have.

Zach is a relatable enough protagonist for the audience to root for him. Comedy is mostly derived from Zach’s sidekick Champ. The structure of the narrative is overtly referenced by Hannah’s father in his musings of what a Goosebumps story should be. The film moves at a good pace, to a climax that is engaging, even if it is predictable. The level of threat in Goosebumps is mitigated to suit the intended audience. Nevertheless, their is sufficient creepiness in antagonists to chill viewers of all ages.

Special effects in the film are great. The film’s setting is perfect for the action that unfolds. Jack Black offers a suitable performance in the kind of role audiences are used to seeing him in. Ryan Lee is well cast as Champ, whilst Dylan Minnette and Odeya Rush have good chemistry as Zach and Hannah.

Goosebumps should prove a hit with older children, and those who like their horror on the family-friendly side.