There’s two things about the Goosebumps movie plot synopsis that make it exciting.
- It feels like the return of Joe Dante-esque adolescent horror that’s terrifying for the whole family.
- It’s just wacky enough to work.
According to io9, the Rob Letterman-directed film will look a little something like this:
“In Goosebumps, upset about moving from a big city to a small town, teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) finds a silver lining when he meets the beautiful girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush), living right next door. But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach’s comes when he learns that Hannah has a mysterious dad who is revealed to be R. L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series. It turns out that there is a reason why Stine is so strange… he is a prisoner of his own imagination – the monsters that his books made famous are real, and Stine protects his readers by keeping them locked up in their books. When Zach unintentionally unleashes the monsters from their manuscripts and they begin to terrorize the town, it’s suddenly up to Stine, Zach, and Hannah to get all of them back in the books where they belong.”
It’s Jumanji meets the monster cubes of Cabin in the Woods. Speaking of which, the meta element that’s been increasingly popular is present and accounted for – the Goosebumps movie isn’t based on the books so much as its about the books and their power. That also means that fans with a favorite book or baddie will most likely see it on screen.
Beyond all of that, the plot is encouraging because it shows the creative team at Columbia is willing to look beyond the typical franchise-building introductory episode that doesn’t have a great track record of launching franchises anymore. They could have picked one of the books (“Welcome to Dead House” would have been attractive not only as the first book but because of its story) and attempted a serialization, but there are several problems with that. For one, it would make the movie look like another entry in the television series. For two and three, it would leave them with a need to reboot fresh characters every time and run the risk of having to turn a fairly simplistic story into a feature film.
The direction they’re heading in is far better. Not only does it offer the potential for a truly large adventure, it means we could see a haunted mask, a werewolf of Fever Swamp, a possessed camera, ghosts, an asshole dummy, a trip to HorrorLand and/or more. What could have been a one-off is now a parade of hits.
As ever, the concern here is with Letterman’s track record (especially with Jack Black showing up). Gulliver’s Travels was atrocious, but Monsters vs Aliens was incredibly charming. Hopefully this feels more like the latter. We’ll have a long time to wait for it, though, because it doesn’t come out for another 2 years.