Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
In the fictional town of Wardenclyffe, best friends Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and Sam (Caleel Harris) stumble upon an old, unfinished RL Stine book that brings Halloween to life before their eyes. What starts out as harmless magic and a few pranks quickly escalates into chaos akin to that of the movie Jumanji, with an array of creatures and monsters terrorising the town. As Halloween season approaches, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween will give youngsters a fun and safe introduction to the horror genre.
Joined by Sonny’s older sister, Sarah (Madison Iseman), the gang face all manner of challenges – from the magical ventriloquist dummy (Slappy) who will stop at nothing to get a family of his own, to the attack of giant gummy bears. Decorations, masks and costumes all become the real deal when a magic spell is spread over the town in this whirlwind adventure. The fearsome creatures commonly found in horror flicks are made more delicate in this picture and are far more palatable for children.
Along with its dramatic soundtrack and the common horror movie trope – the jump scare – Goosebumps 2 also manages periodic comical moments and giggles, with a talented cast of actors and some naturalistic wit and sarcasm. Balancing out the scares and frights with laughter keeps the film lighthearted and family friendly.
Madison Iseman as Sarah really stands out and gives young people a strong female character to look up to. Her leadership, intellect and strength throughout the journey are admirable and lead to the salvation of the town and rescue of her family.
Jack Black’s appearance as writer RL Stine seems somewhat unnecessary to the plot and could have been funnier had the point been further emphasised that he was rushing in to save the day once it had already been done.
Whilst a thrilling piece of cinema for children, adults are most likely to feel slightly bored at the film’s predictability and simplicity. The characters seem to stumble across the solution to their problems accidentally, rather than having to figure anything out for themselves and it all feels just a little too easy. However, this is such a good depiction of strong children; so often we see a stereotypical child scared of their own shadow, but these three young protagonists tackle every problem head on, stopping at nothing to save the day!
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is released nationwide on 19th October 2018.
Watch the trailer for Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween here: