GOOSEBUMPS 2: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN – A Review by John Strange
The setting for Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is the small town of Wardenclyffe. Their claim to fame is the Wardenclyffe Tower, also known as the Tesla Tower, that was an early experimental wireless transmission station designed and built by Nikola Tesla (actually, it was built in Shoreham, New York in 1901–1902).
Two boys, Sam Carter (Caleel Harris) and Sonny Quinn (Jeremy Ray Taylor), who have an ambitious idea to make money. They call themselves the Junk Brothers. Sam accepts a job to clean the junk out of an abandoned house. No cash. But they can keep anything that they feel can make them money. The house is the epitome of haunted houses, full of cobwebs and is truly spooky looking. In other words, perfect for this type of film!
The boys put their game faces on and get to work cleaning out the house. They find a few items they can resell but nothing out of the ordinary. Until they find the stuffed cat on the mantle. Just have to say that this cat is not the pretty kitty that most folks might want on their mantle when they just could not say good-bye to Snuggles or Fluffy. This is one scary kitty cat!
The boys decide to take the cat. Pulling it loose from the mantle releases the secret door at the back of the fireplace. Inside the secret room is a steamer trunk. To their disappointment, the trunk contains only a book with a lock and a key (for that lock).
As with the first movie, everything that happens after this is because of the magic released by the book opening. The kids and their sister (Madison Iseman as Sarah Quinn) are the heroes of this story. RL Stine (Jack Black) has a very secondary role and doesn't get involved in the real action.
The action in the film is fun and creative. The choice of a ventriloquist's dummy as the source of evil (from the book) is a big chunk of the "creepy" in this film. Ken Jeong's campy portrayal of the Quinn's next door neighbor is perhaps the best role he has ever played! As the Quinn kid's mother we have Wendi McLendon-Covey from TV's The Goldbergs doing her usual good job.
The tower spoken about at the beginning has a huge part to play in the film and is a big part in the climax. I wish is still existed in real life. That would make for a great road trip!
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is a good family Halloween-themed movie. The kids will have a lot of fun watching it without getting too frightened. The adults will enjoy the special effects and humor. And the final scene is a good setup for the sequel. All in all, this is a nice movie. It will do well in theaters and will do well in the years to come as a go-to film for young families to watch during this season.
Directed by: Ari Sandel
Cast: Jack Black, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Ken Jeong, Caleel Harris, Chris Parnell,
MPAA Rating: PG (for mild action and some terror)
Selig Rating: A
Runtime: 90 Min.
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.