I believe in the direct approach. “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” is a dumb movie. To be fair, “Goosebumps 2” isn’t aimed at me. It’s rated PG so the age appeal is likely to be under 13. However, some adults who grew up on S.L. Stine’s novels may find themselves interested.
A few minutes into the movie and they may find the decision regrettable.
Two boys — Sonny and Sam — clean out an old house and find a trunk with a ventriloquist dummy inside. The dummy is Slappy. He is alive. Slappy causes Sonny, Sam and Sonny’s older sister Sarah all kinds of grief. On Halloween day the dummy casts a spell that brings all of the pumpkins, ghost and creature costumes and other Halloween items to life.
Oh, and gummy bears, too. Gummy bears? Really? Anyway, Jack Black’s R.L. Stine is summoned to end the chaos.
“Goosebumps 2” is written by Rob Lieber who did the terrible “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad movie and so is this one.
The acting is as predictable as the premise. Black does double duty as the voice of Slappy. Wendi McLendon-Covey of TV’s “Goldbergs” plays Sonny and Sarah’s mom. She’s the not-happy-Slappy’s target. The kids are done by Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor and Caleel Harris. Some of the comedy relief comes from Ken Jeong who plays the next door neighbor.
If you could call this comedy relief. The real relief is when the gratefully short — 90 minutes — is done.
Movie name: ‘Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween’
Director: Ari Sandel
Stars: Wendi McLendon-Covey, Jack Black, Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Caleel Harris, Ken Jeong, Chris Parnell
Mr. Movie rating: 1 star
Rated PG for mature themes. It’s playing at the Fairchild Cinemas Pasco and Queensgate 12s, the AMC Kennewick 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.