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Blu-ray Review: Goosebumps 2

February 6, 2019

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

A followup to the surprisingly good 2015 film Goosebumps, Goosebumps 2 finds a new group of young protagonists accidentally unleashing monsters from author R.L. Stine’s classic series of books.

This film is also set at Halloween, and follows Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and Sam (Caleel Harris), two kids who have an after school business removing junk from other people’s houses, hoping to find some lost treasures amidst the trash.

But when they get called to an abandoned mansion that belonged to none other than R.L. Stine (Jack Black), they end up finding a locked manuscript for an unfinished book called Haunted Halloween, along with the ventriloquist dummy Slappy (Jack Black).

They accidentally bring him to life after reading out the spell written on a piece of paper in his pocket, and after bringing him home, Sonny starts to discover that the dummy has a mind of his own. Slappy almost instantly becomes possessive of his new family, prompting him to use the same spell to bring a variety of Halloween decorations – and an army of bloodthirsty gummy bears – to life.

When the manuscript gets opened, the other Goosebumps monsters are also released once again, and it’s up to Sonny and Sam to set things right on Halloween night, while also getting some reluctant help from Sonny’s teenaged sister Sarah (Madison Iseman), who is supposed to be watching him while their single mother Kathy (Wendi McLendon-Covey) works late. This leads to a climactic showdown, in which they are faced with a series of different threats in order to save the town and their friends.

While Goosebumps 2 is not as good as the first film, which worked as a super fun throwback to 1980s horror comedies, I still enjoyed this sequel for what it is. Like the first one, this film also takes a very meta approach to adapting the original books, and while the results are slightly diminished this time around, this allows it to work as more than just a straight adaptation as it somewhat cleverly weaves together elements from different titles in the series. The special effects are also decent, which leads to some fun set-pieces as the various monsters and Halloween decorations start springing to life.

Although the presence of the original leads Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush and Ryan Lee is somewhat missed here, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Caleel Harris and Madison Iseman all do a decent job of carrying the film, and the fact that Goosebumps 2 is mostly centred around new characters allows it to distinguish itself a little bit more from the first one. Ken Jeong also has an amusing supporting role as an overly enthusiastic neighbour who loves all things Halloween and happens to be a huge Goosebumps fan.

This is ultimately a fairly entertaining Halloween movie for families, that once again does a fine job of paying tribute to R.L. Stine’s classic books. I had a decent amount of fun with it, and it would also be a good choice for kids who want something Halloweenish, but aren’t really ready for the scarier stuff yet. Another interesting thing to note is that during the theatrical release the film was advertised with the subtitle Haunted Halloween, which is curiously nowhere to be found on the Blu-ray packaging.

The Blu-ray also includes a few short deleted scenes, a gag reel, the two featurettes Thrills & Chills – The Making of Goosebumps 2 and Meet the Monsters, the five-part Science With Slappy, which showcases a series of science experiments being conducted by the dummy and the cast, as well as a fake commerical for Sonny and Sam’s junk removal business and an “audition tape” for Slappy.

Goosebumps 2 is a Sony Pictures Home Entertainment release. It’s 90 minutes and rated PG.

Street Date: January 15th, 2019

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