25 September 2023

Goosebumps 2-Haunted Halloween

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Reviewed by Victor Rebikoff.

Director: Ari Sandel, Sony Pictures, PG 90 Mins.

Unlike the popular original released in 2015, this sequel, although entertaining in parts, essentially misses the presence of Jack Black except for a brief cameo appearance in the concluding scenes when all the ghoulish monsters come out to play.

This time around it is left to two nerdy teenagers – Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor –‘It’) a budding scientist intent on experimenting with electricity and best chum Sam (Caleel Harris –‘Heaven Sent’) -to act as the catalyst for creating the chaotic events over Halloween.

The story opens with Sonny and Sam clearing an abandoned house when they uncover RL Stein’s unfinished manuscript titled Haunted Halloween together with a diminutive dummy that suddenly speaks, introducing itself as Slappy (voiced by Mick Wingert).

In an attempt to impose its mean-streak will on their family, it is Sonny’s older sister Sarah (Madison Iseman –‘Beauty Mark’) who stands-up to Slappy as it begins to bring to life a range of ghastly monsters for Halloween.

As the town becomes invaded by the horrific monstrosities including an abominable snowman, a werewolf and even a giant spider, Sarah and Sonny decide to call in the man himself, RL Stein (Jack Black) to rid them of the mayhem.

By the time Stine arrives, Sarah and Sonny (including Sam) have saved the day as well as rescued their mother Kathy (Wendi McLendon-Covey –‘Blended’) from Slappy’s evil intention of transforming her into a dummy.

Despite incorporating a blend of comedy and special effects, Sandel has still missed the opportunity to have the larger than life Jack Black play a major role considering that the concluding scene suggests another instalment is in the offing.

Apart from the enjoyable performance of Slappy, one cannot overlook Iseman’s own portrayal as the feisty Sarah, presumably cast in the leading line-up in place of the brilliant Black

Vic’s Verdict: 2 ½ Stars

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