Goosebumps

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Goosebumps Movie Poster Image
Action, monsters, humor in R.L. Stine adaptation.
  • PG
  • 2015
  • 90 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 20 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 55 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A man learns to let go of his dependence on another person and find strength from within instead. Teens show bravery in the face of total chaos. Mild teasing related to gender roles (i.e., a boy being teased about getting a sparkly hat as a gift).

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are fairly cartoonish and silly, though they're also brave. Fledgling writers may find inspiration in R.L. Stine, even if he, too, is more cartoonish than realistic.

Violence

Noisy CGI monsters (abominable snowman, lawn gnomes, ventriloquist dummy, giant bugs, zombies, wolfman, robots, etc.), rampage, chase, attack, and fight. Fire and destruction. Some mildly scary imagery. References to deceased father. Teens in peril.

Sex

Brief kissing. Reference to twerking.

Language

"Butt," "shut up."

Consumerism

Coke reference. U-Haul truck shown. Reference to YouTube.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Spoken line: "That kid is on drugs."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Goosebumps is a live-action movie based on the best-selling middle-grade horror novels by R.L. Stine. There are lots of different kinds of monsters (who could certainly frighten young/sensitive kids), and though teens are in peril and there are some scares, the main focus is on action: chasing, fighting, destruction, and chaos. Expect a bit of kissing and some spoken references to things like twerking, YouTube, and a kid "being on drugs." Language isn't an issue, with the strongest word being "butt." Overall, the movie is still fairly lowbrow in tone; it will likely appeal to fans of the books, but other scary-movie lovers might prefer something quieter and spookier.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6 year old Written bydejahh October 17, 2015
Parent of a 2 and 5 year old Written bymoni October 21, 2015

Not bad

I took my 5.5 year old to this movie with me, it was more for nostalgia purposes for me. He thought it was funny, and laughed at most of the "scary" p... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byStevie111 October 16, 2015

Decent, though silly monster movie

This film was somewhat creepy at times and definitely not good for younger kids, though overall it seemed very silly and none of the special effects were that g... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old October 16, 2015

Scary for younger kids

I think this movie is OK. In my opinion younger kids and/or kids who get scared easily should not watch this movie. The scariest character is Slappy the dummy,... Continue reading

What's the story?

Teen Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) moves with his single mom (Amy Ryan) from the big city to the small town of Madison, Delaware in GOOSEBUMPS. Zach doesn't seem to fit in at school (where his mom is vice principal), and the only person he meets is a misfit named Champ (Ryan Lee). But Zach does connect with his next door neighbor, Hannah (Odeya Rush), who seems to be kept prisoner in her house by her mysterious father (Jack Black). Investigating, Zach and Champ discover that Hannah's dad is R.L. Stine, the famous author of the Goosebumps series. Unfortunately, they also discover a series of locked original manuscripts that, once opened, release real monsters into the world. Among them is the worst one of all: Slappy.

Is it any good?

Fans of Stine's books may or may not find something to enjoy here, since the movie is less intent on being scary than on loud action, special effects, goofy humor, and a tentative teen romance. Director Rob Letterman previously made the critically slammed Gulliver's Travels -- also starring Black -- and Goosebumps brings that same kind broad, lowbrow approach to the beloved middle-grade books series.

It's all rather graceless, and yet it has a certain kind of good cheer. It harks back to a time when horror fans simply loved monsters and took pride in not being afraid of them. The movie parades an endless, imaginative array of monsters and allows viewers to make their own connections. Black is also used well -- he's more or less restrained in his role (but still funny) -- and the younger actors are likewise likable.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Goosebumps' violence and scariness. Is it exciting? Upsetting? How much scary stuff can kids handle?

  • When are movie monsters scary, and when are they not? How would you classify the ones in this movie?

  • How does the movie compare to the Goosebumps books? How does the R.L. Stine character compare to how you might have imagined him? How does he deal with fame and success? Does he seem like a famous person should?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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