Story

Goosebumps begins when Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) and his mother Gale (Amy Ryan) move to Madison, Delaware, after the death of Zach’s father. Gale is taking up the role of assistant vice-principal at the local high school. Zach isn’t keen on the move but is soon intrigued by his strange neighbour, Mr Shivers (Jack Black), and his friendly daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush). 

Zach soon learns that the neighbour’s property is out of bounds, as is Hannah. He is convinced, however, that Hannah is being tormented by her father. He devises an elaborate plot to get Mr Shivers out of the house and creeps inside to check up on Hannah. He takes along a new friend he’s made called Champ (Ryan Lee), commonly known as Chump. The two discover that Hannah is unharmed, and they also find a library full of locked books. 

It turns out that Mr Shivers is the famous author R.L. Stine and he keeps all of his books under lock and key for good reason. Zach manages to open one of them and unleashes the Abominable Snowman into real life. Once one book is opened, the monster opens all of the books, releasing lots of monsters into the community. The Abominable Snowman, an evil ventriloquist dummy called Slappy, giant insects, a werewolf, garden gnomes and zombies are let loose to destroy and rampage through the town. It’s up to Zach, Hannah, Champ and Stine to find a way to put a stop to the chaos.

Themes

Horror; the supernatural; bullying

Violence

There is some violence in Goosebumps, but the movie does't show any blood or gore. For example:

  • The Abominable Snowman falls through a window, smashing the glass.
  • The Abominable Snowman throws a vending machine through the ceiling and it nearly lands on the three teens.
  • Zach, Champ and Hannah hide behind a glass enclosure in an ice-skating rink but the Abominable Snowman bashes his head on the glass, knocking himself out. He then gets up, smashes the glass and grabs at the teens with his long claws.
  • Stine throws a brass object at the Abominable Snowman.
    Garden gnomes go on the attack with knives and axes. One throws a knife at Zach, narrowly missing him. Then they all attack trying to strangle Zach.
  • Alien robots fire guns at the police, freezing them on the spot.
  • A dog attacks Zach’s Aunt Lorraine.
  • Cars are seen crashing, burning and upside down.
  • The Invisible Man attacks Champ, pushing his face into the car window.
  • A giant insect jumps on top of the car that Stine, Zach, Hannah and Champ are in and starts attacking it. It then chases the car down the street, causing it to overturn.
  • A werewolf chases the teens and is quite vicious. It gets hit by a car.
  • The monsters all attack the school where the annual dance is being held. They blast a hole in the wall and terrify the students and teachers inside.
  • The werewolf corners a girl but Champ jumps on its back, biting it. The werewolf runs away.
  • Slappy breaks Stine’s fingers by trapping them inside his typewriter.
  • The monsters are lured to the school bus, where a bomb has been placed. It then explodes and the monsters all go flying.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Goosebumps has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • The monsters are all quite realistic through the use of CGI animation. The Abominable Snowman is big, with long claws and he continuously chases and attacks the teens. The werewolf is also very scary, with long claws, and he growls and drools.
  • R.L. Stine appears at first to be a very scary intimidating man who threatens Zach.

From 5-8
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, Goosebumps has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • Children in this age group could also be disturbed by the scary monsters. It’s also quite scary when the zombies come out of their graves with their arms outstretched and follow the three teenagers.
  • Zach is obviously upset about the loss of his father and watches a video of them playing baseball.
  • In one scene Hannah creeps up on Zach and makes him jump. In another scene Zach goes carefully into Stine’s house and down into a cellar, holding a torch. Champ comes up behind him, placing his hand on his shoulder, which makes Zach jump. There are also lightning and thunderclaps in many of the scary scenes.
  • Zach thinks he sees Stine shouting and screaming at Hannah through a shadowy window.
  • A huge explosion happens when Zach unlocks the first book. A whirlwind appears and the Abominable Snowman emerges from this. Another monkey and the Abominable Snowman scream at each other.
  • Slappy the ventriloquist dummy is quite evil. He looks like he’s smiling but he’s always plotting another disaster.
  • A cute poodle transforms into a nasty monster dog with fangs. It flies up into the air and attacks Aunt Lorraine.
  • Stine and the teenagers are driving in a car when they’re attacked by the Invisible Boy, who leaves handprints on the windscreen.
  • Stine gets covered in a huge lava ball.
  • Lightning and thunderclaps accompany many of the scary scenes.

From 8-13
In addition to the violent and scary scenes mentioned above, Goosebumps has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example, Zach sees Hannah glowing in the moonlight and realises she’s not a real person but another product of Stine’s imagination.

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Goosebumps has some sexual references. For example:

  • Lorraine thinks Stine is sexy.
  • Champ is in love with a girl at school

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

Goosebumps has some sexual activity. For example:

  • The girl that Champ rescues from the werewolf kisses him on the lips quite passionately.
  • Zach and Hannah kiss.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in Goosebumps: Coca Cola and Fanta.

Coarse language

Goosebumps has some coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Goosebumps is a light-hearted horror movie. Children who grew up with the much-loved Goosebumps books will relate to it. The movie is meant to be scary, which makes it more suitable for older children and teenagers. The CGI monsters are very scary and could certainly frighten children under eight years, as well as some slightly older children.

The main messages from this movie are that we should try hard to solve problems and to overcome fears.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include courage, bravery and teamwork.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like bullying. For example, Stine talks about the fact that he was sickly as a young child and was bullied as a result. He created scary monsters in his books to help him have revenge on the world. Is this a good way to overcome bullying and what else could he have done?