Review: "Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween" Is an Enjoyable Festive Flick

Alessandra Guarneri ‘21 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
After R. L. Stine fans have been deprived of a second film based off of the popular Goosebumps series, his work has inspired a new American comedy horror film Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween just in time for this year’s spooky season.
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween takes place in a small town called Wardenclyffe located in New York and accurately remains focused on Halloween night. The film, directed by Ari Sandel, is based on R. L. Stine’s children’s book series and is also a sequel to the 2015 film Goosebumps. While originally deceiving the audience that the family this story revolves around is completely free of danger, the film then starts to reveal that something is very wrong. An evil ventriloquist dummy is discovered by two boys who believe it’s just a toy and, when things get strange, their worlds turn upside down.

Caleel Harris, Madison Iseman, and Jeremy Ray Taylor in Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Corporation.
Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and Sam (Caleel Harris) are best friends who do practically everything together, including digging for people’s trash in order to find something they may consider to be treasure. During one of their outings, the two friends find a book that ultimately releases a ventriloquist dummy named Slappy (Jack Black) in a house that appears to be abandoned. Slappy did not appear to be alive – although that factor was clear to the audience – until the boys returned to Sonny’s house and the doll became comfortable enough to talk.
Originally entertained by Slappy, Sonny and Sam play video games with him and joke around. After things go horribly wrong due to Slappy wanting to be a part of the “family,” Sonny and his sister Sarah (Madison Iseman) realize that they have to figure out how to stop him and release him back to where he came from.
Caleel Harris, Madison Iseman, and Jeremy Ray Taylor in Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Corporation.
While the plot begins to thicken and move from humor to suspense, the two boys and Sonny’s sister Sarah realize that Slappy’s plan is to take over Halloween with the help of other monsters he is able to persuade. It portrays the importance of learning lessons, valuing those who you consider to be your family and taking risks that could be worth it. Through several challenges and self-discoveries, characters develop from one stage of the movie to the next.
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween will make you laugh, think about life, and also leave you genuinely eager to find out how the movie will end. Its subtle, yet hilarious, light humor is something seen before from R. L. Stine, and it shines incredibly well throughout the first half of this film. Viewers of this horror comedy will leave wondering what would happen if a ventriloquist dummy took over the world in real life and maybe even extra skeptical of objects this Halloween.
Overall Grade: A-
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