New kid to town, Zach and his widowed mum move next door to teenage girl Hannah and her stern, concealed father, who becomes apparent to be R.L. Stine, worldwide bestselling author of the Goosebumps series . Drawn in by his uneasy demeanour, Zack discovers that his curious neighbours actually conceal a further deep secret, involving locked manuscripts of the childhood stories in their home. Stine, trapped in part of his imagination, has the ability to create monsters that can materialise into the real world. When the books are unintentionally opened, the creations are released from the pages. Now faced with the many terrors from his own writings, Stine, along with the help from his daughter, Zach and his new friend Champ, must battle their way to trap the creatures before any further chaos can ensue.
Bringing a new, literal sense to the idea behind bringing stories to life, this enchanting reimagining of well loved children’s narratives brings an absorbing portrayal of the typical tale of the new kid to the block. Primarily, this is a family friendly narrative, depicting quintessential personas and rendering of themes such as the love interest next door as well as the private protagonist, detaching himself from the world after the death of his father the previous year.
Once all the obviously repetitive storylines are overlooked, the particular accountant is intriguing. We come to find more about this initially mysterious man next door, with a troubled past, who found solace in writing and imagining his own companionship. Previously a lonely and solitary individual, Stine does discover the unlikely friendship that Zach provides and there’s a nice, evident discovery of inner compassion through the development of the film.
What Goes Bump in the Night
When it comes down to the production of this feature, it is an impressive spectacle. The gorgeous visuals of the monsters and their creation into the real world is done brilliantly. Appealing to inner book nerds, the creatures are literally pulled out from their books and into existence, exposing their personalities in a way that readers can relate to and feel the effect of childhood nostalgia. Scenes particularly highlighted certain beings, such as a distinctly appealing incident involving the gnomes, which stands out in terms of great cinematography and animation, bringing a group of traditionally inanimate objects to life.
The music was another aspect that brilliantly brought the whole scenarios together. Terrifying string progressions, coupled with fast passed brass and woodwind brings forward tension, magic and spine-chilling atmosphere that compliments the sequence of events.
The main appeal overall was how it didn’t feel like a literal children’s film. After viewing the trailer, thoughts wandered to believe that it was to be childish and evident on appealing to the younger audiences, but there was still a creepy ambience that intrigues older audiences as well, while still sticking to the PG rating. Jack Black‘s rendition of the world renowned author was compelling, as he still has the element of humour surrounding his persona, despite the preoccupied, sombre presentation. Although the teenagers did present typical, ordinary and fairly average personalities themselves, they complimented the distinguished performance of Black.
Although the slight display of romance comes across as unnecessary and quite involuntary to the plot, for the most part, this was a captivating and exciting story. It succeeds in displaying the right amount of chilling suspense and action, paired with gorgeous scenaries such as the graveyard, and significant visual animation and graphics, pleasing the inner book admirer.