Almost every Millennials’ favorite childhood horror series is being resurrected onto the big screen with Goosebumps. Jack Black helms the movie as the “Stephen King of children’s literature” himself, R.L Stine, with an ensemble of relatively familiar teen actors, along with some other comedy notables (see: Amy Ryan and Kumail Nanjiani).
This newest and biggest edition into the fantastical fright saga sees protagonist Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) falling for Stine’s own daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush), and in the process unwittingly releasing all of Stine’s creations onto the real world — perhaps a deeper lesson on the hazards of young love. The pair, along with Stine and a team of other quirky monster hunters, must return all of the creatures back to their respective and nostalgically familiar books.
The film seems intent on ingraining the old Goosebumps mythology into the newer and more comedically savvy generation that just missed the original books, while giving longtime fans a satisfying return to their childhood nightmares in a more updated format. Easily marketable to younger kids, Millennials, and even the parents that were forced to read the books, Goosebumps will undoubtedly do well in the box office based on its universal appeal. The quality of the film, however, will be a different matter. While it no doubt has plenty of acting mettle under its belt, it remains to be seen how Jack Black will fair supported by mainly teenage actors. Writer Darren Lemke is the most likely to apply the polish, with his years of experience writing for a range of works, from Lost to Jack the Giant Slayer.
As it stands, the movie looks set to perform incredibly well, but as an old Goosebumps fan, I can only hope that its quality matches that of its source material — and doesn’t taint the series with another contrived movie update so common in the 2010s.
Goosebumps opens in theaters on October 16.