Taking the ‘Cabin in the Woods’ approach of chucking in all the monsters and seeing what sticks, this kid-friendly spooker based on the crazy-huge-selling stories by RL Stine is more goofy fun than such a blatant cash-in ought to be. It all begins in textbook ’80s-adventure fashion, with a single-parent family – mum Gale (Amy Ryan) and teenage son Zach (Dylan Minnette) – pitching up in a sleepy small town only to discover that their neighbour is a creepy weirdo who keeps his daughter on a short leash. It’s not long before said weirdo is revealed to be retired writer Stine (Jack Black), whose spine-chilling creations have a habit of jumping off the page and wreaking havoc in the real world.
For the first hour, ‘Goosebumps’ throws in so many sparky one-liners and pell-mell action set pieces that its shortcomings – creaky plot, Black’s out-there accent, a pair of slightly dull leads – are easy to overlook. It all spins out of control in a final blowout of naff special effects and random shouting, but there’s just enough leftover goodwill to carry it through.