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When New York teen Zach (Dylan Minnette) and his newly-widowed mum (Amy Ryan) relocate to the suburbs of Delaware, they find themselves next door to a big old spooky house where instant love interest Hannah (Odeya Rush) is kept under lock and key by her creepy dad (Jack Black). Turns out that that’s not all he’s keeping under lock and key: he’s really R.L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps series of kid-friendly horror books, and if he doesn’t keep his manuscripts locked up the monsters in his stories will burst out to wreak havoc.

There’s no prizes for guessing what happens next; what is surprising is the smart sense of humour that runs alongside the rampaging monsters. The teen leads are charming, Black is stronger than he’s been in years – it seems that playing a self-important windbag suits him – while the monsters (led by evil dummy Slappy, voiced by Black) strike just the right balance between creepy and over-the-top. The army of monsters ranges from killer garden gnomes to killer aliens to a killer car, so while their town-destroying antics are never that scary (probably a good thing), they’re always entertaining. Goosebumps is a lot more fun than it has any right to be.

Reviewed by Anthony Morris