Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

Posted on October 12, 2018 at 1:00 pm

Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grade
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for scary creature action and images, some thematic elements, rude humor and language
Profanity: Some schoolyard language
Alcohol/ Drugs: None
Violence/ Scariness: Extended action-style fantasy/mild horror peril and violence, creepy creatures. boo-scares
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: October 12, 2018
Date Released to DVD: January 14, 2019

Copyright 2018 Columbia
My review of Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is on

The first “Goosebumps” movie was a lot of fun, with Jack Black playing real-life author R.L. Stine, whose hundreds of spooky-fun books for tweens have sold hundred of millions of copies. This sequel, with only a brief appearance by Black, is blander, with lower-wattage talent on and behind the screen. But the special effects are still top-notch and it is a pleasant little scare-fest for the Halloween season.

Parents should know that this film includes extended spooky-scary content with scary monsters, ghosts, witches, boo-scares, peril, action/cartoon-style peril and violence, some potty humor and schoolyard language.

Family discussion: Which is the scariest monster in the movie? Why do people like scary movies?

If you like this, try: “Monster House” and “Paranorman” and the Goosebumps books and first film

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Based on a book Comedy DVD/Blu-Ray Fantasy movie review Movies -- format Series/Sequel Stories About Kids Stories about Teens


Posted on October 15, 2015 at 5:04 pm

Copyright 2015 Sony Pictures
Copyright 2015 Sony Pictures

Screenwriters Mike White (“School of Rock”) and Darren Lemke (“Turbo,””Lost”) bring just the right blend of scary, funny, and heartwarming in this first film based on the books by tween favorite R.L. Stine, the man who put the BOO in BOOOKs. And when I say “books,” I mean the plural. This movie does not bring just one of Stine’s creepfests for kids to life. It brings many of his more than 300 books to life, sometimes creepy undead life, but life on screen.

Our hero, handsome Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette of “Alexander and the No Good…etc”) and his mother (Amy Ryan) move in next door to a pretty girl named Hannah (“The Giver’s” Odeya Rush), who lives with her dad (Jack Black). Zach would like to get to know Hannah, but her father warns him to stay away. Hannah would also like to get to know Zach. While her dad tries to keep her in the house, she sneaks out to visit an abandoned amusement park and takes Zach along. Then when Zach thinks he hears Hannah in trouble, he goes to investigate, with his amiably dorky friend Champ (Ryan Lee).

It turns out Hannah’s father, the legendary author R.L. Stine, has not been keeping Hannah inside to protect her. He has been keeping everything inside to protect everyone outside. For some mysterious reason, each of the books he wrote contains a literal monster, and if the book is opened, the monster escapes. And it is very, very, very hard to get them locked back inside. You’ve heard of Pandora’s box? These are Pandora’s books. Whatever scares you the most — insect monster, clown monster, zombies, mummies, werewolf, angry yeti, evil ventriloquist dummy — it’s in there, or, I should say, it’s coming out of there. And a lot of things you didn’t know were scarey (garden gnomes? fluffy poodle? Jack in the box?) turn out to be very scary, too. All the monsters escape and Stine, Hannah, Zach, and Champ have to get them locked back up. If they can do that without getting eaten first.

It is too bad to see the brilliant Jillian Bell, who stole “22 Jump Street” from Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, relegated to a retro man-crazy single lady. The equally brilliant Amy Ryan does the best she can with her limited role. But the special effects, stunts, and production design are state-of-the-art, and Zach and Hannah are likeable leads, with Black and Lee providing some comic relief and a superb score from Danny Elfman, who just about owns Halloween music. There are dozens of allusions to classic scary tales, which should inspire at least some kids to pursue literary and movie monsters from “Dracula” and “Frankenstein” to “The Dark of Night,” “The House that Dripped Blood,” and the original “The Haunting.”

Parents should know that this movie has lots of monsters, some very scary looking, as well as some scary surprises, schoolyard language, and brief potty humor.

Family discussion: Which is the scariest monster and why? How are the three kids different in the way they view the monsters?

If you like this, try: “Monster House” and the books by R.L. Stine

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