This film, directed by Rob Letterman and written by Darren Lemke, is based on R.L. Stine’s young adult horror book series of the same name. Stine published 62 books in his original Goosebumps series, selling some 400 million copies worldwide to young readers, ending the series in 1997. Stine, now 72 years old, appears in a brief cameo towards the end of the film.
In this film Zach (Dylan Minnette) and his mom Gale (Amy Ryan) move to Madison, Delaware after the death of Zach’s dad, hoping for a fresh start. Gale has taken the position of Vice Principal at the local high school. Their next door neighbors are the writer R.L. Stine and his attractive home-schooled daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush). Stine makes it clear that Zach is to stay away from his daughter.
When Zach has concerns about Hannah’s safety, he and his nerdy friend Champ, played by the hilarious Ryan Lee, break into the Stine home to save Hannah. They unlock one of Stine’s books on his bookshelf and unknowingly release the scary monsters Stine has created. Led by the ventriloquist dummy Slappy, the monsters include the Abominable Snowman of Pasadena, the Werewolf of Fever Swamp, the Blob, the Vampire Poodle, etc. Stine, Zach, Hannah and Champ then try to recapture the monsters and get them back into their books before they can destroy the town.
The film is well written and funny. The monsters are scary and Jack Black is excellent in the role of R.L. Stine and as the voice of the devious Slappy. Julian Bell is well cast and funny as Gale’s sister Lorraine.
We really enjoyed this film, which is rated “PG” for scary and intense creature action and images, and for some rude humor. While there was no adult language, God’s name was misused a number of times.