Whether you have ever read one or not, everyone knows of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books. With over a 100 books in the series it was only a matter of time that it jumped off the page and it did just that in the 90s with the popular TV series of the same name. The franchise took an even bigger step in 2015 with the big screen feature of the same name starring Jack Black. Now the next chapter is here with the Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween starring Ken Jeong, Wendi Mclendon-Covey, Chris Parnell, Madison Iseman, Ben O’Brien, Caleel Harris, and Jeremy Ray Taylor, but does it offer up the same fun as the original or is it not a book worth reading?
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween follows best friends Sonny and Sam who meet Slappy, a mischievous dummy who brings his ghoulish friends back to life -- just in time for Halloween. As the town becomes overrun with monsters, the boys join forces to save Sonny's mom and foil Slappy's wicked plan. I was surprised by how fun the original was, but some of that was in part to Jack Black who looked like he was having a blast in the role. With him being absent from promotions I wasn’t sure how well this next chapter would work. While it doesn’t fully capture everything that worked from the first film for me it still managed to be a lot of fun.
Much like the original it takes a little bit to set up since we are dealing with an all new cast and location. This aspect of the film is fine, but felt more like a made for TV movie at times, but once we get to the fun of bringing Stine’s characters to life the fun begins. The one element I enjoyed more this time around was the initial embracing of the horror element. Before getting into the over the top CGI extravaganza they allow us to spend some quality time with Slappy complete with some dark and twisted visuals that clearly were looking to drum of the creep factor. Once the rest of the monsters rise it becomes more like the first film with lots of great and silly characters that kids will no doubt love to see in action.
Fans looking for something deep here will be short changed as it does come off at times more like a straight to Blu-ray release, but thankfully has just as many elements to connect it to the original and elevate it to something more. This is a film made for the young audience and I think they will have a great time with it. The ending offers up an interesting direction should the franchise continue and I for one hope it does.
Review by Bobby Blakey - Bobby reviews way more movies on his own website than the genre-specific ones I post here. Check out Bobby's awesome website and his live show he co-hosts with his wife, Drusilla, at Hollywood Matrimony.