Goosebumps (Review)

Goosebumps and it's somewhat questionable release date has finally come out in the UK. It first premièred at The London Film Festival back in and October but it kept getting pushed further and further back in the UK, for general release. Finally, the time has come and this past week meant that the public could now head to the cinema and see the film for themselves (if they haven't already since it's been out in the US and other countries for months - 4!)

The film centres around Zach, a young teenage boy, who is upset about moving from a big city to a small town. No film would be complete without a little romance and so the story begins where he finds a little slither of hope in this new life he is forced to live, when he meets his next door neighbour Hannah. But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach's comes when he learns that Hannah has a mysterious dad who is incredibly controlling and refuses to let the two speak.

After being at school for minutes, he has already found a best friend in Champ - his real name  - and quickly they form a plan to ask girls to the school dance.
On returning home, Zach overhears Hannah being shouted at ad punished by her crazed father so together with a nervous Champ, the two break into the house, and head upstairs to 'rescue' Hannah. It turns out they were wrong.

It is revealed that Hannah's father is R. L. Stine, the author of the best-selling Goosebumps series. It turns out that there is a reason why Stine is so weird. He is a victim of his own imagination; the monsters that his books made famous are real and Stine protects the world by keeping them locked up  - literally! - in their books.

In the midst of their discovery, Zach accidentally drops a book and upon picking it up, it opens. Releasing the devilish Slappy, he fights back when they try to return him to the pages, but he has another plan. He steals the rest of the book and slowly unleashes the monsters from their manuscripts, one-by-one, and they begin to terrorize the town,
Suddenly up to Stine, Zach, Hannah, and to some extent Champ, to get all of them back in the books where they belong.

The author with the help of the kids formulate a strategy to write a new story enveloping all the monsters into one book to put order back into the world by recapturing these demons. But of course, the only way to write it is on a typewriter at the school...ages away. The remainder of the film is a high-energy chase in which Stine and the three youngsters have to battle against them before finally making it to their destination.

Somehow they manage to cram a ridiculous amount of creatures into the next hour of battle: Slappy, a Yeti, lawn gnomes, a werewolf, a giant mantis, zombies, the blob whom eats everything and everyone...
While I think Zach is played by an incredible actor, the actors overall were terrible and overplayed. The director doesn't seem to have much direction in terms of how to play and develop each character.
There’s a massive over-reliance on CGI imagery at times, but things improve when the special effects dial down. Some scenes seem rather slow but each seen tries to encompass some sort of humour. The supermarket chase is long-winded but watching the plan being undertaken only to have Champ knock over a display and making and racket is funny.

It's definitely a family-orientated movie. Despite being centred around all these horror creatures, the humour makes everything seem ridiculous and so there it's not so much scary as more of goofy humour and a tentative teen romance.

Meanwhile, the surprise at the end of the film was definitely a shocker for me. Perhaps, if I knew that this film was based on books and I'd read them, I wouldn't have but to me, the scene where Hannah is "discovered" (I won't spoil it for those yet to watch) is perfect and completely unexpected.

I was surprised when the movie ended on such a cliff hanger. Seemingly, one of the monsters didn't get sucked back into the film and he's writing a new book...