Those who know me know that I absolutely adore the Goosebumps movie from a few years ago. It was like a horror movie for kids and was absolutely delightful. This is kind of similar, in that it has Jack Black in and has an air of horror about it. It’s not QUITE as fun though. It has some good moments in it, and it does inspire some genuine laughs. But not enough. It does help that it’s directed by Eli Roth, who has a critically and fan-acclaimed history when it comes to horror movies. This film is the work of someone who knows what they’re doing, but is toning it down slightly for the younger audience. This is definitely a film for kids, it is a slight horror but it has that warm feeling that you associate with films from the 80’s like ET etc. There’s an air of warm nostalgia to the whole thing that will warm the hearts of fans of those films. It’s incredibly, I don’t know, cosy.
The script, as well, is pretty damn good. It’s funny without being insulting to the intelligence of adults watching. That’s in terms of humour anyway, there are quite a few moments where the characters think of an idea long after the audience have. These are supposed to be highly intelligent and trained wizards, yet it takes them A LONG time to come to certain conclusions and ideas. That only happens like once or twice but it’s enough to take you out of it. A lot of my issues with this are incredibly minor, this is a hard film to actively dislike. The biggest problems for me were some toilet humour that doesn’t really suit the tone of the film, and Jack Black’s performance was a bit over the top at the times, it might have improved it if he toned it down about 2%. He does have fantastic chemistry with his co-stars though, so that makes up for it. You genuinely feel that they really bonded on set and became close. Which considering the themes of closeness in the movie, makes sense.
Just because it’s a difficult film to dislike, does not mean it’s an easy film to love. It is an easy film to like, though. It just doesn’t really do much to make you remember it for years to come. The final third almost manages it, with a chaotically fast-paced piece that is logical and weird. The whole film is weird, which makes sense as that’s the message of the film: weird is good, embrace the weirdness. Also; bullies are dickholes.