Story

This is the second Goosebumps movie based on the comedy horror fiction series by R.L. Stine.Sarah Quinn (Madison Iseman) is a high school senior living with her little brother, Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor), and her mother, Kathy (Wendi McLendon-Covey), in the small town of Wardenclyffe, New York. Sarah is struggling to write an admissions essay for Columbia University in which she must discuss the true nature of fear. It’s almost Halloween and everyone is decorating their houses with ghosts and ghouls and carved pumpkins, especially their neighbour Mr Chu (Ken Jeong), who is a true Halloween enthusiast.

Sonny’s best friend from school, Sam (Caleel Harris), is coming to stay with the Quinn family over Halloween. Sam has a grand plan for a new garbage pick-up business. His first job is clearing out an abandoned house. Sam and Sonny ride their bikes out to the abandoned house, which has a spooky atmosphere and makes the boys a bit nervous. In the house, they discover a secret room with a locked trunk. Inside the trunk is an old manuscript and an antique ventriloquist’s dummy called Slappy (voice of Mick Wingert) with a note in its jacket pocket. The note has some magic words and when Sonny reads the words aloud, the dummy suddenly comes to life.

At first Slappy helps the boys with their homework and talks about being a part of their family. But evil things start to happen, and the boys realise that Slappy isn’t a nice dummy. When the boys reject Slappy and try to throw him in the river, Slappy brings all the Halloween decorations to life and wreaks terror on the small town.

Sonny, Sarah and Sam discover that Slappy is a character in an unfinished manuscript by Goosebumps author R.L Stine. They contact Stine in the hope that he can write a good ending for the book and help save the town from Slappy’s evil plans. When Stine gets the message, he heads straight to Wardenclyffe to help the children. Together they must get Halloween under control!

Themes

Supernatural beings; Halloween; friendship; bullying; family

Violence

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween has some violence. For example:

  • Gummy bears attack Sam, who must punch and fight them hard in self-defence.
  • A bully says in a threatening way, ‘Unless you want your face punched ...?’
  • The dummy makes someone fall off a ladder.
  • The dummy makes a bully’s trousers come down, exposing his underwear and humiliating him. This happens two or three times.

Sexual references

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween has some mild romantic references. For example:

  • Sarah has a boyfriend. He climbs into her bedroom window and they kiss.
  • Sarah sees her boyfriend kissing another girl at a nightclub.
  • Store manager Walter and Sarah and Sonny’s mum, Kathy, flirt mildly. They arrange a date.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween has some partial nudity. For example, a character is seen in his underwear when his pants come down.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween: Pringles and Red Bull.

Coarse language

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween has some mild coarse language, including ‘dummy’, ‘shut up’, and ‘son of a …’.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is a funny horror movie for tweens and teenagers, which balances genuinely scary moments with moments of comic relief.

For younger children who are particularly sensitive, some of the movie’s imagery and characters might be a little too scary, so you should consider this before viewing. This movie isn’t recommended for children under eight years, and parental guidance is recommended for children aged 8-12 years. Otherwise, the movie has plenty of thrills and could be a great introduction to the horror genre.

The main messages from this movie are that you can face your fears and that teamwork is important.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about issues like:

  • talking to you when something doesn’t feel right or is scaring them
  • keeping secrets and what they should do when someone asks them to keep a secret, but it doesn’t feel right.