Goosebumps: Childhood Nightmares Set Free

by Devina Gunawan

I saw this movie a couple of weeks ago and I have to say, despite feeling a little bit offended with the fact that my childhood was going to be relived in a movie, I enjoyed it.

It was good. And it certainly served my childhood nightmares some justice.

I grew up reading Goosebumps series, and staying up late at night because I would be worried that somewhere out there a living dummy was searching for me. I do not know why, but the dummy was my worst nightmare.

So this is for my childhood.

After a loss of a father and husband, a pair of mother and son duo decided to move from New York to Madison, Delaware (yes, try finding that on a map). They moved into a nice neighborhood and the son, Zach, was greeted warmly by the girl next door Hannah, whose father was an overprotective, mysterious man who wouldn’t let anyone near his daughter.

Hannah was beautiful and free spirited, and Zach was smitten. At school, he was looking for Hannah where apparently, she had never been to. However, he made a friend, Champ, an overly enthusiastic, bullied, socially awkward student.

Later on, Zach ran into Hannah again and she told him that she had been homeschooled. She then took him to an abandoned carnival in the woods and they bonded.

Young love, I’d say, but it was so romantic I couldn’t complain.

There was the Romeo and Juliet thing going on, with Hannah’s father constantly reminding Zach to stay away from his daughter. I wasn’t a fan, but then it was Jack Black. Also, did anyone else think what I was thinking?

Hannah? Girl next door? Anyone?

Okay, so at night, Zach heard Hannah and her dad fight, followed by Hannah’s banshee scream. He panicked, and then he dialed some help to come rescue Hannah. Unfortunately, the police could not function well, and Zach was dismissed as false alarm.

Not giving up on rescuing his damsel in distress, Zach dialed Champ and tried to get into his neighbor’s house. Of course, before that, he pretended to be the police and prank called Hannah’s dad to go to the police station.

Zach and Champ entered the house from the basement, and they found that the house was full of traps. It was strange, but then nothing could slow Zach down and stop him from finding Hannah. They eventually got to the library and were amused at the full collection of Goosebumps scripts, which were all locked.

Hannah found the boys and accidentally they opened a book, due to Champ’s adamant request on opening one. The book opened and the Abominable Snowman emerged.

My heart skipped a beat. I knew worse things were coming out.

Please, anything but the dummy. But of course I knew Slappy would come out, I’d seen the trailer.

So Hannah decided to go after the Snowman to put him back in the book, and the boys followed. They were about to get killed by the yeti when Hannah’s father saved them by trapping the monster back in the book.

And as it turned out, Hannah’s father was Stine, the author of Goosebumps. (You will see the real Stine in this movie though, just wait for it)

So the four of them went back to Stine’s house only to find out that one book, one particular book was opened, and it was Slappy’s turn for revenge. Slappy was angry that he had been trapped in a book for so long, so he released every monster from the books and burned the books so that the monsters were set free.

On the quest of trapping the monsters into a new book, Zach found out that Hannah was a ghost, and that she was a character from one of the books. Tadaah! That explained why she was not allowed to leave the house and that Stine made sure that nobody would see her.

Zach didn’t care however, since he had fallen for Hannah and just wanted her to be happy.

The four ran around town to avoid the monsters and to get to the school, where a magical typewriter was displayed, and it was the only thing that Stine could use to write a story to trap the monsters in. They crashed into a dance at school and enlisted the help of the whole student body to stop the monsters.

In the end, Zach had to make the final decision to trap every single monster out, including Hannah, or let all of them roam free in the world.

This movie was well acted. I loved the cast, and I loved the development. It was definitely re-watchable, and I would get a DVD for next Halloween.

The CGI was a disappointment, because they looked very cartoon-ish. I expected a lot more, but considering that this was a movie made to relive childhood, I didn’t mind so much. The plotline was interesting for the characters, although I wasn’t rooting so much for the ending given.

Female characters in this movie needed more, but then I guess the writers did what they could for them. I would prefer a stronger female lead and a better story lines for the women, but I didn’t spot anything too discriminating that I had to get up in the middle of the movie and cry, “Stop!”

Goosebumps got a 7 out of 10 from me.

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