Look, no one really expected this to be any good, did
they? At least, not from a critical
point of view. I imagine that people who
really loved the book series when they were younger might enjoy the nostalgia attached
to seeing Slappy come out of a book and cause havoc through a small town. Kids may also enjoy the mixture of slapstick
comedy and light-scares, but the parents may struggle to cope with Jack Black’s
flat performance and inconsistent accent – as much as the general
predictability of the whole thing. It
wasn’t terrible; just not particularly good.
Soon after moving out of city life to suburban Delaware, a teen befriends the class clown and unwittingly unleashes his neighbor’s spooky secrets upon the citizens.
The Goosebumps book series always erred toward the side of goofy rather than actually scary and the film absolutely does the same, to similar lukewarm effect. Don’t get me wrong, I truly love a good spooky family flick, but this one just doesn’t have all the magic. Jack Black does great (although not a stretch for his skills), Jillian Bell from Workaholics is pretty hilarious, Ken Marino shows up (and that’s about all he does; underused!), and the kids are all decent enough. The special effects are occasionally surprisingly good (even if 90% of the badass monsters only show up for a second of actual screen time), the main plot is simple-yet-fitting, the pacing is spot-on, and the cinematography is quite good. Despite all this talent and polish, there are some telltale third act problems that tend to be the folly of many a big-budget studio picture. A few massive leaps in logic and “suspend your disbelief” moments skew an already pretty absurd movie into “too silly” territory for me, personally. To the casual or younger viewer however, this likely won’t present a huge issue but I guess, like the book series always was for me, this film also doesn’t really capture any true wonder. Just decent.
Pictured below: a bunch of dope monsters you only see for a frame or two.
1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling 2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor 3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier 4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell 5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck 6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou 7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz 8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman 9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle 10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky 11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers 12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris 13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey 14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain 15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison 16. Forever, by Judy Blume 17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker 18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous 19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger 20. King and King, by Linda de Haan 21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee 22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar 23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry 24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak 25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan 26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison 27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier 28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson 29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney 30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier 31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones 32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya 33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson 34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler 35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison 36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley 37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris 38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles 39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane 40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank 41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher 42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi 43. Blubber, by Judy Blume 44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher 45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly 46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut 47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby: The First Graphic Novel by George Beard and Harold Hutchins, the creators of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey 48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez 49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey 50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini 51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan 52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson 53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco 54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole 55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green 56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester 57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause 58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going 59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes 60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson 61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle 62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard 63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney 64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park 65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien 66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor 67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham 68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez 69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury 70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen 71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park 72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison 73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras 74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold 75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry 76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving 77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert 78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein 79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss 80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck 81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright 82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill 83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds 84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins 85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher 86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick 87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume 88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood 89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger 90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle 91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George 92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar 93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard 94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine 95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix 96. Grendel, by John Gardner 97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende 98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte 99. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume 100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank
What’s it about? There are some books that should never be opened. Or at least that’s the premise behind Goosebumps, which follows a teenager who teams up with Stine’s daughter after he opens a book and starts a cascade of big bads being released upon the town.
I’m not really sure how to feel about R.L. Stine’s The Lost Girl. I grew up on Goosebumps books, my favorites being the choose your own adventure stories (like Return to Terror Tower).
I liked the plot:
Lizzy Palmer, the new girl, is the hot topic at Shadyside High. Michael and his girlfriend Pepper make friends with her, but as they get closer the stranger she is… and more attractive–at least for Michael.
After a snowmobile accident Michael’s friends start getting murdered. Pepper is convinced that Lizzy is the murderer but Michael doesn’t believe her.
Over 60 years ago.
Or 70 years ago. Because that’s kind of up in the air.
I have a lot of issues with the timeline involved. 70 years ago it was 1950, which makes the current year of the book 2020. In 2020, Michael is a senior in high school, which makes him 17, maybe 18, and means he was born in 2002 or 2003. Michael’s grandfather died in 1985, 35 years after he had Lizzy/Beth’s father murdered and 17 to 16 years before Michael was born.
But Michael talks about his grandfather like he knew him. Specifically, he describes him as a sweet old blind guy.
I also had issues with Beth Palmieri (aka Lizzy Palmer). #1: It’s blatant that’s she’s the same person. What other reason could we have for seeing the flashbacks to 1950? Plus, she’s crazy. Right from the get-go. Insane. No easing into it. She’s always lost, she knows the main character’s name and where he lives, stabs him with a needle, and is always sort of aloof. #2: She’s a witch? Or telepathic? When she first talks about her “tricks” (her word not mine) that’s all they are. Just a little thing she happens to be able to do. Then later it turns out that her grandmother taught her these “tricks.”
Ultimately, I feel like there’s an entire novel’s worth of information missing. I really felt like I was reading a sequel and not a stand alone piece.
Now, I grew up on Goosebumps by R.L. Stine. I loved them. Ate them up the same way the monster in the basement ate kids from the neighborhood. I was excited to see the Fear Street series, R.L. Stine’s YA version of Goosebumps. And it started off appropriately: crazy detailed, dark, action packed, but then the plot holes got a little bigger and I fell right through one and out of love with The Lost Girl.
But-I did still enjoy it. Hence I gave it 2.5 stars. I’m really right in the middle on this one. I think you should give it a chance, but I’m not guaranteeing that you’ll love it.