17 June 2016

Movie Review: "Goosebumps" (2015)

Rated: PG for scary and intense creature action and images, and for some rude humor
Starring: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, and Odeya Rush
Released: October 14, 2015 (theaters)
Synopsis: Zach Cooper is bummed, big time.  He just started at a new school where the assistant principal is none other than his mother! Worse yet, he meets a pretty girl next door, only for her creepy and seemingly insane father (Jack Black) to hide her in his house! Determined to find out the real truth, Zach discovers that the guy next door is none other than R.L. Stine, author of the best-selling Goosebumps books! When they open a manuscript, it sets free all of the monsters Stine created, who are bent on destroying the town.  The only way to stop them is to force them back into the books that once contained them...but, with the monsters bent on staying free, it'll take everything they've got to save the day and their town.

The Good: What a ride! This is one of those stories that grabs you and doesn't let go.  While the ending may be obvious--don't the good guys always win in films like this?--it's still full of thrills and adventure.  I don't normally do scary stories, but I didn't find the monsters in this movie to be all that frightening; maybe if I were still eight years old, I'd feel differently.  A fun cameo from the real R.L. Stine, great special effects, and even a little romance...what's not to like? Well, nothing, except...

The Bad: There were too many misuses of God's name within the dialogue, which was unfortunate, considering that there wasn't much other profanity.  That may ruin this film for some viewers.

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: Three scenes involving teens kissing, more than one of which is passionate; two or three stray sexual remarks, including one involving pedophilia. 3/5
  • Nudity: A girl in a low-cut dress. 4/5
  • Language: One usage of the h-word; ten or so misuses of God's name; harsh words include "shut up" and "imbecile". 2/5
  • Violence: Though there's no blood or gore and no apparent deaths, this movie is rife with violence.  People are frozen; vehicles are wrecked; monsters are blown up; buildings and other structures are destroyed, etc. 2/5
  • Drugs: A stray drug-related remark. 4/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: As you'd expect from a movie like this, scary monsters are seen throughout.  There is also some emotional intensity. 1/5
  • Other: Some of the monsters are disgusting as well as scary; the kids in the movie lie to adults. 3/5
Conclusion: Despite being a longtime avid reader, I have never read a Goosebumps book.  I've always had a low tolerance for scary stuff, and even more so when I was younger, which was when the books first became popular.  I never even saw the show; when I saw the advisory coming up that it was "inappropriate for children under 7," I turned the TV off.  Still, per the recommendation of a friend, I checked this movie out...and I'm glad I did! It reminded me of Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, a favorite film from my childhood.  Maybe now that I'm older, I should check out some of Stine's books.  Who knows? I might enjoy them!

Score: 4/5

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