HomeMoviesReview: Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween Feels Like a Straight-to-DVD Sequel

Review: Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween Feels Like a Straight-to-DVD Sequel

Goosebumps 2
Photo Credit: Daniel McFadden

Written by Tom Moore

Based on the popular children’s book series by R.L Stine, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween attempts to capture the same magic the 2015 original had.

Going in, I actually found myself relatively excited as a huge fan of the series since I was kid. The way Stine crafted creepy children’s stories with interesting characters and an eerie twist at the end of every story had me instantly hooked on series and was a big influence on my interest in writing and the horror genre as a whole. Not to mention, the 2015 original actually captured exactly what made the books special and easily became a recent favorite of mine.

Unfortunately, this sequel doesn’t bring anything unique to the screen. It actually doesn’t even feel like a cliché because more than anything as it relies on just being basic. It’s by-the-numbers with its storytelling with over-used tropes that seen in other family films.

Basically, protagonists are down on their luck, unlock an evil force, evil force takes over, protagonists go to stop it and fail at first. In the end they muster up the energy to stop the evil force and then succeed with everything they were struggling with at the beginning. Shove in some “heartfelt” dialogue, okay jokes, and throw-away characters and you basically have this movie. It’s a plot that can get a pass, but won’t win anyone over.

The film also has no sense of care towards its material and this is displayed distinctly through its performances. No one seems excited to be here and their dead-pan and emotionless performances are pretty easy to spot. It’s like they realized they were in a lesser production and didn’t care to try to make it something special. It really makes the film feel more like a filler for a real sequel than it being strong enough to stand on its own.

The name Goosebumps also feels loosely attached to the film as it never really captures what makes the name so iconic. It actually starts decently as the story feels similar to one of the series most iconic titles, “Night of the Living Dummy.” This makes sense considering the book’s antagonist, Slappy, makes his return to wreak more havoc on the big screen. His plan to bring more haunted horrors to the real-world feels familiar, but his true intentions can come off as little weird and a bit awkward. Not to mention, his puns and jokes can cause a range of reactions from a slight chuckle to a resounding silence.

Other than Slappy, though, there aren’t many other Goosebumps creatures present and they are replaced with more generic Halloween monsters. While it was kind of nice to see the film not rely heavily on just the nostalgia like the monsters from “One Day at Horrorland,” the Masked Mutant from “Attack of the Mutants,” or the Scarecrows from “The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight.” However, I just couldn’t get over my desire to see them and not seeing them made me feel like I truly wasn’t watching a Goosebumps film.

All of this isn’t to say that there isn’t anything to enjoy. There’s some decent humor and some solid surprises that made me smile as a fan. It’s just tough to get past how much this feels like a straight to DVD sequel and it honestly disappoints me as fan.

So if you’re a parent looking to see something to get your kid in the Halloween spirit, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween isn’t a bad watch, but far from a good one. Frankly, those looking for a real Goosebumps experience should really check out the original or 90s TV series as it’s much more authentic than what is in theaters now.

Review Score: 4 out of 10


Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is now playing in theaters nationwide.


Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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