Doing 31 Days of Horror, I hadn’t planned on scheduling in a trip to see Goosebumps 2, but after seeing the film, I felt it had to take today’s spot.
Haunted Halloween is the follow-up to 2015’s Jack Black comedy horror Goosebumps. Based on the kids books from the 1990’s, Black played the author RL Stine, trying to get the escaped characters back in the books. It was fun, a little bit silly and very meta but nothing really scary or even very funny. Not sure if it wants to be Scooby Doo or Shaun of the Dead.
Goosebumps: Haunted Halloween on the other hand, knows what it wants to be and runs with it. The story is tighter, scarier and the jokes are better. Unapologetically horror first, comedy second, Haunted Halloween launched tons of jump scares at its audience, who as its aimed at kids, would be more likely to jump.
Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor who was Ben Hanscom in IT) and his pal Sam (Caleel Harris) find Slappy the Dummy, who appears after they open a mysterious book in an abandoned property. Slappy reveals he has magic powers and offers to help them, but as you’d expect, the creepy little dummy has his own evil agenda, bringing Halloween to life! Sonny’s sister Sarah (Madison Iseman) has to lead the charge to save the day and rescue their Mom, Kathy (Wendi McLendon-Covey). Ken Jeong from Community and The Hangover shows up as the next door neighbour and we also get an appearance from Chris Parnell as Walter.
I genuinely didn’t expect this movie to be anywhere near as much fun as it was. Stacked with cool practical effects, great monsters and genuine scares, Haunted Halloween is definitely a great seasonal film. It walks the line between Halloween, Trick r Treat and Child’s Play. But, y’know, for kids. Slappy’s evil plan reminded me so much of Chucky, I half expected him to shout “Give me the power I beg of you…” instead of his own mantra. The audience I saw it with jumped a lot, one kid even making his family leave as he was too scared. The family sat by me seemed scared too, I overheard the oldest boy say “are you sure this is a kids film, I’m gonna have nightmares…” I didn’t think it was too scary for kids, but there’s definitely some scary moments and big jumps. The creatures all look great too. There’s an upside down bat monster that looks particularly horrible!
I also enjoyed the reverence for horror movies in general, there’s a rather blatant nod to Halloween 3 Season of the Witch as well as a great IT gag!
If you liked the first movie, this one is way better. The pacing is quicker and the scares are great. A true gateway horror for todays youngsters in the vein of the classics we grew up with in the 80’s and 90’s
For Fans Of:
The Monster Squad
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