If you went to school anywhere between 1992 and 1997 and could pull yourself away from Harry Potter you might be familiar with a little series called Goosebumps. With sixty-two books, a television series and a feature film it’s safe to say this young adult horror series has just a little bit of a following by fans of its creator, R.L. Stine.
The Goosebumps series of books were individual stories centred around kids in supernatural horror like situations but in a kid-friendly type of way. Closer to Scooby Doo than Texas Chainsaw Massacre the stores were aimed at Young Adult readers and as of writing this still retain the #2 spot of best-selling book series of all time (#1 is Harry Potter). In 2015 the first adaption of Goosebumps hit the big screen with Jack Black playing the author R.L. Stine whose stories have jumped from the page to terrorise a small town (R.L. Stine appearing in his own stories is more a Goosebumps movie thing, he isn’t Alfred Hitchcock – but he does appear in both film adaptions).
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is the spiritual sequel to the original 2015 Goosebumps film starring Jack Black as R.L. Stine. Much like the books which were intended as stand-alone tales to astonish the new film does not require you to have seen the previous movie to enjoy it but it doesn’t hurt.
The new film, while not a direct adaption of any one of the Goosebumps books, does draw from the series with Sonny and Sam discovering an incomplete book by R.L Stine in an abandoned house behind a secret door. After opening the book a ventriloquist dummy appears who fans of the series will recognise as Slappy, one of the few reoccurring villains in Goosebump. It’s not long before slappy turns on the pair (and Sonny’s older sister) bringing Halloween decorations to life.
So should you go see it? As mentioned this is not a hardcore horror film with it scoring a PG rating and a definite under 15 audience target. If you are a fan of the Goosebumps series or even the tone of the previous Jack Black Goosebumps film this is a fun film to watch the week before October 31st. The film itself is well made and there are plenty of product placements to remind you that it is a Sony film (with Ghostbuster toys and Sony phones) there is no danger of this falling into Scooby Doo 3 territory with a change in lead characters from the first film.
While Halloween is more of a U.S. thing than an Australian thing this movie might just be the right thing to get you in a Halloween party mood.
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is in cinemas from today across Australia.