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Children

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween (2018)

Duration1h 30m
RatingsUK: PG, USA: PG, Denmark: 11 
Source of storyLoosely based on the themes of the Goosebumps books, particularly Night of the Living Dummy, by R.L.Stine
DirectorAri Sandel
Writers/ScriptRob Lieber
StarringWendy McLendon-Covey, Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Caleen Harris, Ken Jeong, R.L.Stine, Jack Black, 
RatingsIMDb: 5.6/10 by 20,880 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 47% by 95 reviewers. Review2view: 6.5/10.

Elevator Pitch: Two friends Sonny and Sam are disposing of people’s rubbish when they find a book in a deserted house, together with a  ventriloquist’s dummy which, after Sonny has read some magic words found in the thing’s pocket, seems to come to life. The dummy helps the boys overcome three bullies and is instrumental in powering up Sonny’s science project, a miniature version of the town’s revolutionary power station. Realising that the dummy is evil the boy’s, with the help of Sarah, Sonny’s older sister attempt to get rid of it but are unsuccessful and the dummy extends its magic to turning the Halloween costumes and masks in the town into real demonic things. A giant spider made by the kid’s neighbour Mr Chu, captures their mother and takes her to the dummy’s lair in the ruins of the power station. As things go haywire in the town the only answer may be to contact R.L. Stine.

Content:  No sex or nudity, or drinking or smoking. Towards the end of the film Sonny’s mother is captured by Slappy, the dummy, and converted into a dummy herself. Although almost none of the other effects is frightening, this is particularly creepy and young children may find it frightening. Sonny and Sam find the book and overcome the bullies with Slappy’s help, which mainly involved pulling people’s pants down. Sarah goes to a disco where she sees her boyfriend snogging someone else.  Once Slappy is let loose the animation of all the Halloween things take place, including Gummy Bears and pumpkins. The characters include a monster bride, an undead pirate, a female cyborg, a grey alien  a ghoul and a vampire.

A View: I admit to being bored to start with while we were dealt the usual teenage angst, but just as I was losing interest it picked up.  I had seen the first film which was not bad, and gave me a handle on this one although the actual plot was a bit weak, and inconsistent because of the missing R.L.Strine – Jack Black uncredited for a minute at the end. And I could not help worrying a bit about the bullies. Three of them are swept into the ait by flying witches and only one is returned. You know what you’re getting so a watch if you like that sort of thing.

Other children’s comedies reviewed on this site include:  Race to Witch Mountain, Gulliver’s Travels and Night in the Museum. 

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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