Goosebumps | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Goosebumps

This re-work of R.L Stine’s monster tales has poor CGI but good humor

The biggest shocker in Rob Letterman’s new film, based on R.L. Stine’s eponymous children’s horror series, is that it’s funny: It’s successful enough in that comic vein that its failures probably won’t bother you. Dylan Minnette plays Zach, a teenager begrudgingly relocated to suburban Delaware. There he encounters a cute next-door neighbor, Hannah (Odeya Rush), and her reclusive, prickly dad (Jack Black), who, it turns out, is prickly and reclusive for a reason. Suspicions are piqued, basements are entered and before you know it, Stine’s collective literary monsters are brought to life — literally leaping off of their pages — to wreak CGI havoc all over the small town. 

Fans of the books will likely recognize every gnome and mummy, but familiarity with Stine’s canon is not a prerequisite. With supporting roles filled by Amy Ryan, Ken Marino, Timothy Simons, Jillian Bell and a scene-stealing sidekick tragically named Champion (Ryan Lee), Goosebumps is an all-ages comedy dressed up in children’s horror. Though overly reliant on underwhelming CGI and plagued by the pervasive safeness inherent to PG-rated horror, Goosebumps is a success.


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