For those of you out there that are not familiar with Goosebumps, they were a series of Teen Horror books created by American writer R L Stine back in 1992. 

The books were extremely popular and actually quite scary. They featured everybody’s nightmare creatures including a creepy ventriloquist dummy called Slappy, a Werewolf, Abominable Snowman, Ghouls, killer Gnomes, a Mummy, a giant Praying Mantis and worst of all…a Killer Clown!

Your Local Guardian:

The film opens with a teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette seen in vampire movie Let Me In 2010 and the R L Stine TV series The Haunting Hour 2011-2013) and his embarrassing Mother Gale (Amy Ryan Birdman 2014 and Bridge of Spies 2015) moving from New York to their new house in Madison, Delaware and Zachs Mum also happens to be the new vice principle of Madison High School.

Zach isn’t too pleased at leaving the Big Apple for the sleepy town of Madison but this soon changes when the attractive teenage girl next door Hannah (Odeya Rush) introduces herself. However, her Father, the mysterious Mr Shivers (Jack Black) warns Zach to keep away from his daughter and to stay his side of the boundary fence.

Your Local Guardian:

Mr Shivers also does not approve of Hannah mixing with the High School kids and chooses home education. This makes Zach even more suspicious and after hearing raised voices and Hannah screaming in next doors house, Zach decides to call the police.

Mr Shivers convinces the police that it is all a misunderstanding. But Zach is not convinced and with the help of the school weird kid and new friend Champ (Ryan Lee, Super 8 2011) they break into the neighbour’s house to check that Hannah is OK.

Your Local Guardian:

What they find is a library full of original Goosebumps horror book manuscripts with hand written- titles on their spine such as Night of the Living Dummy. The odd thing is that all the books have padlocks keeping them shut.

Zach finds a key and opens one of the books and unwittingly releases the Abominable Snowman from the pages and into the real world.

Your Local Guardian:

Hannah tells the two boys that they must track down the creature and get him to get back into the book. They find the creature at the local Ice Rink (where else?) and with the help of her Father they trap the furry snowman back in the book.

Mr Shivers comes clean and admits that he is in fact the famous Goosebumps writer R L Stine and that the monsters that he created are all real and have to be kept under lock and key.

By the time they get home they discover that all of the books have been opened by the creepy ventriloquist Dummy ‘Slappy’ (also voiced by Jack Black) who wants to take revenge on Stine for keeping him locked up.

Your Local Guardian:

Can Stine and the three teenagers save Madison from the marauding Goosebumps monsters?

This film will definitely appeal to ex-teenagers of the 90’s who can remember the books and many US critics have already given the film a good review.

The idea of bringing the Goosebumps books to the big screen is a great idea. The only problem I have with this particular film is that it has nothing new to offer.

The film is a cross between the mayhem of the small hick town in danger in Hocus Pocus (1993) and the mayhem in a small hick town in Jumanji (1995) when a grown up and some kids have to save the town from creatures that escaped from another dimension and send them back to where they came from.

Your Local Guardian:

Goosebumps does redeem itself by having some funny lines mostly between Dylan Minnette’s character Zach, who delivers comedy moments with great timing (looking like a skinny mini me version of Channing Tatum) and bouncing off his scaredy-cat friend Champ.

But once again I felt let down by some poor CGI effects, particularly with the Werewolf which chases the group in an empty supermarket but does not seem to have any weight and substance to his body (or is that the invisible man?). Maybe I’m just a bit picky?

Your Local Guardian:

There is the obligatory mutual attraction between Zach and Hannah despite the overprotective Stine. But are the star crossed lovers doomed before their romance starts?

Jack Black is…well Jack Black and sort of does an acting by numbers job. However, he does have that likeability factor and the market it’s aimed at will no doubt love it.

Your Local Guardian:

In cinemas February 5