Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is here just in time for Halloween (the greatest time of the year!) but unfortunately, there are not many bumps to scare you in this sequel.
Jack Black led the way in the original, with a to-good-to-follow performance and thankfully he is back for Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, although barely. Other notable changes include the writing and directing teams; writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski and director Rob Letterman replaced by writer Rob Lieber and director Ari Sandel. Darren Lemke stays on as co-writer.
Following a day of cleaning up at a spooky old house in Wardenclyffe, N.Y., Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and pal Sam (Caleel Harris) encounter Slappy and recite the incantation in his pocket (because of course that’s what you do when you find a terrifying ventriloquist dummy in a dilapidated house) and bring him home. This recital brings Slappy to life and soon we learn his motives aren’t all they seem to be.
Having always wanted to be part of a family, Slappy wastes no time in using his powers to gain the boys’ trust and settle the score against bullies and crappy boyfriends. Slappy can’t resist a bit of mischief though, and once he is in his ‘family’s’ bad books, he doesn’t hold back. Using his ability to reanimate objects in front of him, Slappy brings every Halloween costume, ornament and toy he can see to life. The decorations of delightful neighbour Mr. Chu (Ken Jeong) also add to Slappy’s colourful ghoul army.
Although there are a vast array of monsters, all of them miss the mark when it comes to being scary, although the gummy bear scene is entertainingly clever. While the special effects are of a high quality, it feels that they are just thrown at the viewer to distract them from a pretty basic plot that isn’t really going anywhere. Special mention for Jeong’s performance, as he brings that wonderful weirdness that he is known for to this role. Although his appearances are brief, he is sincere and enthusiastic. He makes the scary world of witches and ghouls accessible to children.
Overall, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is a forgettable sequel to a much better original instalment, but younger children will enjoy it all the same.
Sony Pictures Animation’s third film to feature living gummy bears. The first two being Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009) and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013).
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