Director: Rob Letterman
Cast: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush
Release Date: Available on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray & DVD January 26, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
After moving to a small town, Zach Cooper (Minnette) finds a silver lining when he meets next-door neighbor Hannah (Rush), the daughter of best-selling Goosebumps series author R.L. Stine (Black). Stine is very mysterious and a prisoner of his own imagination – the monsters that his books made famous are real, and he protects his readers by keeping them locked up in their manuscripts. When the monsters are accidentally unleashed and begin to terrorize the town, it’s up to Stine, Zach and Hannah to get them back in their books where they belong!
Based on the best-selling series of children’s novels from legendary fright master R.L. Stine, the film adaption of ‘Goosebumps’ follows Zach (Minnette) who after moving to a small town with his mother is anything but enthused. At least that was the case prior to meeting Hannah (Rush), the girl next door who lives with her overbearing father who Zach can’t help but feel is causing her harm. After breaking into their house in order to discover the truth, Zach discovers her father is in fact the legendary R.L. Stine (portrayed by Black) who wrote the infamous Goosebumps book series. Unfortunately he soon also discovers that Stine’s monsters are anything but imaginary and after accidently unlocking a book manuscript the town is assaulted by a barrage of the terrifying creations from the novels brought to life. Now Zach along with Stine, Hannah and his new friend Champ (Lee) must find a way to get rid of the creatures before they erase the town from the map.
Directed by Rob Letterman (Shark Tale, Monsters Vs. Aliens) from a screenplay by Darren Lemke (Shrek Forever After, Turbo) Letterman does an impressive job at the helm of ‘Goosebumps’ and perfectly captures the middle ground of fun, funny and creepy always present in R.L. Stine’s popular book series. The film includes a cast comprised of a few familiar faces and some notably less familiar including Jack Black as the famous author R.L. Stine himself in addition to providing the voices of Slappy and The Invisible Boy. Black joins Dylan Minnette (Prisoners, Labor Day), Odeya Rush (We Are What We Are, The Giver), Ryan Lee (Super 8, This Is 40) and many more, all of whom deliver solid if not at the very least competent performances in each of their respective roles.
‘Goosebumps’ is one nostalgia filled great time and the kind of family film that is sure to have many of the adults as enthused as the kids, if not more so in many cases. Providing no shortage of laughs and family friendly thrills and chills, it’s quite the treat to see all of these memorable monsters from the classic book series brought to vivid life. With Slappy the Living Dummy (brilliantly voiced by Jack Black) at the head of the baddies guiding more notable creatures than you can fathom, get ready for a grin inducing good time as they infest the town and each confront our fearless heroes. While some of the creatures and action may be a tad intense for the much younger children, the rest of the family should have no trouble enjoying this one together and everything from the violence to the language is kept generally tame and the somewhat scary moments are perfectly balanced by the consistent humor.
Overall, ‘Goosebumps’ is a wonderful revisiting of the classic book series, perfectly incorporating the tone and elements of the novels and delivering an incredibly fun adventure that the whole family is almost certain to enjoy. For the households with children and even more so for those such as me who grew up reading the popular books, I would highly recommend checking out ‘Goosebumps’ if you haven’t yet had the pleasure. This fantastic family film is more than worth the cost of a rental and many folks likely won’t be disappointed in the slightest with a blind purchase.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Goosebumps’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks outstanding, delivering a sharp, detailed and gorgeous presentation from start to finish, beautifully capturing the numerous unique creatures of the world and holding up impressively even during the darkly lit and fast moving sequences which are quite common within the film, never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a top notch high definition video presentation that should easily satisfy the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel audio presentation. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds great as a whole and consistently delivers in every way required of it, frequently utilizing all seven available channels in order to surround the viewer with the frenetic activity occurring within and sending plenty of creepy, action and monster-related auditory effects swarming throughout the speakers, while never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a solid Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that shouldn’t disappoint the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Goosebumps’ includes a number of enjoyable extras for the whole family. Included on the release is an ‘Alternate Opening’ (running approximately 3 minutes in length), along with a number of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film which also includes an ‘Alternate Ending’ (approximately 13 minutes altogether). Also included are a few fun Behind the Scenes Featurettes and random videos, they include: ‘All About Slappy’ (approximately 5 minutes), ‘Beginner’s Guide to Surviving a Goosebumps Creature’ (6 minutes), ‘Strange Things Are Happening on Set’ (4 minutes), ‘Creaturefied!’ (9 minutes), along with a ‘Cast Blooper Reel’ (3 minutes) and a collection of rehearsal shoots in a ‘Cast Screen Test Gallery’ (7 minutes altogether).