Family-Friendly GooseBumps

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The bare tree branches that stretch like skeleton arms in the night sky. Walkways that move and crunch with the flutterly leaves skewed across them. A sky that grows darker even before the kids finish homework. October just calls for a little scare and the new Goosebumps movie is the perfect solution.

When my kids were little, watching Winnie the Pooh get frightened by Tigger jumping out from behind a tree stump was our scary movie night but now that they are older they’re looking for a bigger scare. I can understand why they are drawn to the modern day screamfest films but the reality is that most of these movies aren’t appropriate for the younger set, no matter what their schoolmates may be saying.

What’s a kid to do? Enter Goosebumps. More than likely your young readers are familiar with R.L Stine’s Goosebumps series from Scholastics; it’s a family favourite. Now some of those oddly scary characters such as the invisible boy from Let’s Get Invisible! or those innocent looking lawn gnomes from Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes jump from the book pages to the movie screen.


Unlike the television series (5 seasons of which are available on Netflix Canada), the Goosebumps movie isn’t about taking one of R.L. Stine’s books and bringing it to the big screen. I mean, how could you choose just one story? Instead the movie comprises of a clever twist. It seems Stine (played by Jack Black) not only has a gift for writing scary stories but when he types them on his special Corona typewriter the characters have a way of coming to life. It’s for this reason all his stories are kept under lock and key. So you can imagine the mayhem when these stories are let loose, first by mistake and then on purpose by Stine’s nemesis Slappy.

Thus the premise of the Goosebumps movie. You can get a better idea from viewing the trailer:

The movie has some dark scenes but nothing graphic or overly violent. Like you expect with most of Stine’s books there is a touch of humour included to balance out the scare. Casting Jack Black as R.L. Stine certainly adds to that balance. My kids, age 8 and 11, loved the movie. My youngest held my arm tight during some suspenseful scenes but she loves the scary thrill it gave her.

The Goosebumps movie is a perfect family movie night to reach those kids who are caught between wanting to be scared but not too much. It’s also a film that parents will enjoy too. My kids have started working their way through the Goosebumps series on Netflix again now that the movie has light a fire of fright in them. Kids familiar with the series will love the film and will probably want to reread some of their favourite books while new fans will have a whole slew of scary reads to discover after the film.

Images courtesy of Sony Pictures (2015)

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2 thoughts on “Family-Friendly GooseBumps”

  1. Thanks for the review! My husband and I decided to let our 9 year old daughter watch one of old TV episodes first to see if she was ready for the movie (she is). However we are keeping our 6 year old son home, I don’t think he is quite old enough for this film. Thanks for the Netflix tip, I will let her know she can find all the old episodes there.

    • That’s a great idea, watching one of the TV episodes Stephanie. Obviously the movie has a higher production value than the TV shows but the scariness is pretty much the same. Have fun!

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