Goosebumps 2: Haunted HalloweenOverview -
When is a movie actually a good and proper sequel - and not just a complete retread and repackage of the previous film? Goosebumps 2 forgoes virtually everything the previous film set up and feels more like an alternate script of the first movie. It's decent enough friendly horror fun for little ones, but it doesn't have that creative spark or fun nostalgia for adults that Goosebumps enjoyed. Sony Pictures delivers a solid Blu-ray release with a bright and bold transfer with a solid DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix. Bonus features aren't that special but give a decent look at the making of the film. If you got kids in need of some safe spooky entertainment, this "sequel" is Worth A Look.
Be careful what you wish for. With their after school junk business, best friends Sonny and Sam hope to find treasure in other people’s trash. But when cleaning out the old Stine house, they open a locked book that frees a supernatural nightmare- Slappy! Now, with the help of Sonny’s sister Sarah, they’re in a race against time to get the sinister dummy and all the creatures he’s brought to life back into the pages before he unleashes total pandemonium!
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
"I don't think this place is giving out candy."
Sarah Quinn (Madison Iseman) and her younger brother Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) live with their mother in the sleepy New York town of Wardenclyffe. Sonny's best friend Sam (Caleel Harris) is staying over while his dad is out of town, and the two boys have a scheme to make some quick cash by providing garbage cleanup services to their neighbors. When the boys are hired to clean out an old abandoned house, the two find a creepy old puppet, and what appears to be an unpublished manuscript called Haunted Halloween by author R. L. Stine (Jack Black). When the puppet Slappy comes alive and starts helping the boys, they quickly learn of his evil intentions - and it may even be too late to save the town!
Back in 2016 when the first Goosebumps hit Blu-ray - I gave it a decent review. I liked it when I saw it and after watching the 3D disc a couple more times over the last couple years it's become a fun little favorite. It was a nice kid-friendly horror flick that left plenty of nostalgic bits and pieces for adults and parents who grew up with the original books to appreciate. All of that goodwill and parent-friendly material is lost in a sequel that doesn't feel like a genuine continuation of the previous film. Instead Goosebumps 2 looks and sounds like an alternate draft of the first film that was tossed away years ago and was dusted off and shot as quickly as possible to race Universal's Jack Black-starring feature The House with a Clock in Its Walls.
While I will admit this is an okay film - I am definitely not the target demographic. In fact, if you're old enough to pay taxes this one isn't for you. From the lead characters to the dopy performances from all adults involved including Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ken Jeong, and Chris Parnell - this movie is 100% geared to the pre-teen kiddos in the bunch whose parents aren't comfortable letting them watch anything with a PG-13 rating. While he makes a contractual appearance, Jack Black's R.L. Stine is shoehorned into the show as little better than a cameo (he doesn't even voice Slappy this time) - which is a true shame since he was so damn funny in the last one.
This one ends with an obvious setup for a possible third entry but I can't see it happening - at least not without a big shift in the creative team. In the rush to get Goosebumps 2 into theaters as fast as possible to hit the titular holiday release frame, the film spoils a lot of the magic the first Goosebumps capitalized. As I said, it's not bad and certainly isn't the worst kid-friendly feature flick out there - it's just not meant for the adults in the room. It's silly. There are some funny bits so it's not a total waste of time, but instead, a missed opportunity to build solid family-friendly horror franchise.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Sony Pictures brings Goosebumps 2 to Blu-ray in a two-disc Blu-ray + DVD + Digital package. The discs are housed in Sony's standard snapper case with identical slipcover artwork. The disc loads to trailers for upcoming Sony releases before arriving at a static image main menu with traditional navigation options.
Shot digitally, Goosebumps 2 offers up a very clean and crystal clear 2.39:1 1080p transfer to spook your home theater system! Much like the first film, the image detail and clarity looks its best when physical creature effects are employed - Slappy looks just as creepy and menacing as ever and a number of the spooky monster costumes that attack the adults look great. Details are strong throughout offering up clear facial features and production design. The creepy old house where the boys find the book and Slappy is a great showcase for production design detail. Colors are bright and bold throughout with terrific primaries and great inky black levels. I spotted a bit of banding every once in a while but nothing too serious.
5.1 track. In full honesty, the fact that I started this review watching the 4K UHD and enjoying that disc's Atmos mix is coloring my experience with this track. There was so much great use of object-based activity with ghosts and monsters and other zany effects that this track just feels like a bit of life was sucked out of it. Truly it isn't bad so if you're not Atmos ready, you'll do fine with this mix - it's just not as much fun. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout without any issues. Scoring and sound effects do a great job of keeping the channels active and engaged. Once Slappy starts destroying the town - things really pick up nicely and the flurry of action sounds great. Levels are spot on. If this was the only track available I'd be very happy - but that Atmos mix on the 4K UHD is the best presentation of this one.
While the quality of these bonus features is a bit hit or miss, I appreciate that Goosebumps 2 wasn't left out in the cold. Most of these featurettes are little better than EPK stuff, but it's worth picking through. The Meet the Monsters featurette offers a nice showcase of all the practical costume and creature effects work.
Deleted Scenes (HD 2:10)
Gag Reel! (HD 2:37)
Thrills & Chills - The Making of Goosebumps 2 (HD 9:56)
Meet the Monsters (HD 8:32)
Science with Slappy (HD 11:09)
Slappy-Oke Sing-Alongs (HD 4:10)
Junk Brothers - Call Now! (HD 1:13)
Slappy's Audition (HD 2:00)
Goosebumps 2 aims its brand of horror, action, and comedy squarely at those whose parents won't let them enjoy anything harder than a PG rating. It's an enjoyable film but if you were a 30-something fan of the original film that appreciated the toe-dips into nostalgia, you'll be left out in the cold by this rather uninspired flick. Sony Pictures delivers a decent Blu-ray package with a solid A/V presentation and a few okay bonus features. A much weaker film than the first, it's got some fun bits but not enough to earn a stronger recommendation than Worth A Look.
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