Movie Review: Goosebumps 2 Haunted Halloween

What a treat this afternoon, to attend a movie after school with several of my grandchildren. When I announced we were headed to a showing of Goosebumps 2 Haunted Halloween, one child excitedly pulled a RL Stine book from a backpack, to show me this was an excellent choice.

Movie Review Goosebumps 2 Haunted Halloween

Goosebumps 2 Haunted Halloween Cast

Haunted Halloween stars Wendi McLendon-Covey, Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Caleel Harris and Jack Black. This family adventure comedy, directed by Ari Sandel, is based upon the Scholastic Goosebumps series, written by RL Stine, who had a cameo in the film. Goosebumps 2 carries a PG rating, for suspense, and has a run time of 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Goosebumps 2 Haunted Halloween follows the adventures of siblings Sarah (Iseman) and Sonny (Taylor) and Sonny’s friend Sam (Harris), as the spooky holiday approaches. Single mom Kathy (McLendon-Covey) is busy working double shifts, leaving Sarah to keep an eye on her brother and Sam, who is spending a few days with the family.

While Sarah works on a college entrance essay, Sonny and Sam begin an entrepreneurial endeavor as the Junk Brothers. They offer their services cleaning trash out of houses, in exchange for items of value collected in the process.

Movie Review Goosebumps 2 Haunted Halloween

Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy

The boys’ first junkin’ job takes them to a creepy abandoned house with the name STINE lettered on it. Inside they discovered a secret room containing a chest. Within the chest is a single object…a partially written book called Haunted Halloween. After opening the book and reading an incantation inside, Sonny and Sam are startled to find a ventriloquist dummy resting in the once empty box.

They soon realize this is no ordinary dummy. It comes to life, walking and talking, and he shares his name…Slappy. At first Slappy seems innocent enough, if an inanimate object that walks and talks can be considered such. The dummy helps with chores and homework, defends the boys against bullies and protects Sarah from an inconsiderate boyfriend. It seems Slappy just wants to be part of a family.

However, things turn more sinister when Slappy’s true motives are revealed. His magical abilities animate the town’s Halloween decorations, creating havoc while Slappy gathers a very unconventional family around him. Sarah, Sonny and Sam realize the key to stopping Slappy is finishing the book that reclusive author RL Stine (Black) began 30 years ago. Will they be able to write the ending of Haunted Halloween before Slappy’s takeover is complete?

Movie Review Goosebumps 2 Haunted Halloween

Thoughts About Goosebumps 2 Haunted Halloween

This was a fun movie to watch with kids…my grandkids and the other children in the theater audience. I love how expressive children are, even when they are reacting in hushed tones.

I found the film to be more humorous than scary, although an animated ventriloquist dummy definitely adds a high level of creepiness to the story. Slappy doesn’t come across as evil as much as he does calculating and determined. He does have a wicked cackle however!

I asked my grandkids what they would add to my review. All three have seen Goosebumps 1…and I have not. Two of the three kids preferred this movie to the first one. They were not bothered by Scrappy at all even though they agreed that they would not want a ventriloquist dummy in their house.

One of their favorite scenes in the movie involved gummy bears. Who would have thought that those little fruit flavored chewy snacks could have a mean streak? The kids enjoyed a film in which children their age, and slightly older, are the heroes of the story.

My favorite scene took place in a store with a seasonal aisle. As the Halloween masks came alive, arms, legs and bodies grew from the bottom edge of the mask, until a full sized form existed. The effect was very cool!

Most of all, I enjoyed watching my grandchildren’s reactions and listening to their whispered comments and chuckles. And if they occasionally held my hand or snuggled close, laying a head on my shoulder, or flashed me a grin in the darkness, well that was worth the price of admission.

Movie Review Goosebumps 2 Haunted Halloween

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