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Movie Review

Goosebumps also known as “Chair de poule,” “Escalofrios,” “Goosebumps: Arrepios,” “Goosebumps: Monstros e Arrepios,” “Grøsserne,” “Gänsehaut,” “Gåsehud,” “Gęsia skórka,” “Libabõr,” “Pesadillas,” “Piccoli brividi”

MPAA Rating: PG for scary and intense creature action and images, and for some rude humor.

Reviewed by: Samuel Chetty
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Horror Action Adventure Comedy Adaptation
Length:
1 hr. 33 min.
Year of Release:
2015
USA Release:
October 16, 2015 (wide—3,300+ theaters)
DVD: January 26, 2016
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

monsters

grudges and hateful and resentful thoughts

becoming bitter toward humanity

importance of learning to let go of grudges and demonstrate a kind, loving attitude others, even your enemies

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

lying in the Bible


Teen Qs—Christian Answers® for teenagers
Teens—Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.
Featuring: Jack BlackR.L. Stine
Odeya Rush … Hannah Stine
Halston Sage … Taylor
Dylan Minnette … Zach Cooper
Amy Ryan … Gale
Ken Marino … Coach Carr
Kumail Nanjiani … Foreman
Ryan Lee … Champ
more »
Director: Rob Letterman—“Gulliver's Travels” (2010), “Monsters vs. Aliens” (2009)
Producer: Columbia Pictures
LStar Capital
more »
Distributor: Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

“Goosebumps” is a wild movie about an author whose fictional monsters come to life. The story opens when a teenage boy Zach (Dylan Minnette) and his mother have just moved to Greendale, Maryland. They live next door to the famous horror story author R.L. Stine (Jack Black) and his teenage daughter Hannah (Odeya Rush). Soon after a light romance begins between Zach and Hannah, Zach hears Hannah screaming inside her house, and given her father’s harsh temper, Zach fears that domestic violence is taking place.

After making a report to the police, that was quickly dismissed, Zach stages a plot to get Stine out of the house for a while, then Zach and his friend break into the house to check on Hannah. While inside, they release the lock on a book, and monsters of Stine’s stories emerge from the books and swarm the town. When Stine finds out what happened, he makes a plan to get rid of the monsters, but he has limited time to accomplish that task before the monsters destroy the town.

Much of the movie involves monsters chasing people across town. I feel that the movie is too scary for young kids, and maybe even pre-teens who are not accustomed to the genre, due to the intense action and moderately ugly monsters. Despite the PG rating, the violence level is comparable to PG-13 action movies. However, I think that for teenagers and adults who watch action movies, the horror does not cut very deep emotionally. The chaos often feels comical in nature, and there is no imagery that looked utterly hideous to me.

Christian audiences will need to decide how to perceive the use of magic in the story. I can see two views. One is a literal understanding of the story in which Stine’s monsters may be attributed to sorcery or demonism. If viewed this way, the movie would be spiritually problematic.

However, I think there is a metaphorical interpretation of the story that carries different implications. The unleashing of Stine’s monsters could be symbolic of what happens when people perpetuate grudges or hateful thoughts in their minds. These thoughts could be symbolized as monsters in one’s head. When Stine was a kid, he was often mocked by his peers, and he became bitter toward humanity, in general. He got revenge in his own mind by writing stories about monsters terrorizing society. If real people persistently hold resentful thoughts in their minds, these thoughts (or monsters), can come to life by manifesting themselves in people’s speech or behavior, causing harm to others they encounter. On the other hand, the value of renewing one’s mind is seen in the movie when Stine learns to let go of his grudges and demonstrate a kind attitude.

It is up to individual Christians how they want to interpret this story. As mentioned earlier, I think the movie is not suitable for young kids. That age group aside, I expect that Christians will have a wide range of responses, depending on what they are used to seeing, and their general philosophy for interpreting movies.

Content Concerns

Violence: There are intense action sequences throughout, involving monsters chasing humans and some fighting between humans and monsters, but virtually no blood. Several characters are frozen by monsters, and they do not reemerge in the story.

Language: 9-10 uses of “Oh my God” or similar phrases. About five uses of minor obscenities like “hell,” “damn, ” or “sucks.”

Other: A secondary character says she hopes a man will leave his wife to be with her. A boy breaks into his neighbor’s house at night. While getting chased by monsters through a grocery store, a boy gets a drink without paying for it. And there are a few instances of lying.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor to mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—This is a movie any Christian can enjoy. There was no sex, and I didn’t notice any profanity—even the OMG was, “Oh my goodness!” Unlike most adventures for this age, pre to young teens, there were no flatulence jokes or bathroom humor. The script was witty, the acting was fine, and the computer graphics were impressive. My 10 and 13 year old grandsons loved it. I believe it is destined to be a classic/franchise. Watch carefully for the four second cameo of the real R.L. Stein.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Brian Schacht, age 68 (Canada)
Positive—This movie was great. It reminded me of what “Gremlins” was to me as a kid—that wonderful movie that was a little bit scary, but just the right amount. I never let my kids watch the “Goosebumps” shows (they were scared of the commercials), and we never read the books, so when I saw this movie was coming out, I thought no way… until I saw the trailer and saw how funny it looked. This really was a comical approach to scary books.

My 8 year old was a little nervous, but loved it. Many adults were laughing at the jokes. The scary elements were treated in a light hearted manner, the monsters were not that scary looking. Jack Black was great. Probably the creepiest thing was the dummy (puppet).

I was really impressed with this film. If your child scares easily, you may want to pass on it. The scare level was greater than “Jumanji,” but not bad and, like I said, reminded me so much of “Gremlins” in finding that awesome kid movie you love. Only heard h*ll once, the R.L. Stine character does refer to a demon, but I take it more the way one might loosely refer to something crazy (like a demon dog, if the dog acts crazy and unpredictable). I think adults and kids will both enjoy it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Andrea, age 43 (USA)
Negative
Negative—“Christian audiences will need to decide how to perceive the use of magic in the story. I can see two views. One is a literal understanding of the story in which Stine’s monsters may be attributed to sorcery or demonism. If viewed this way, the movie would be spiritually problematic. However, I think there is a metaphorical interpretation of the story that carries different implications. The unleashing of Stine’s monsters could be symbolic of what happens when people perpetuate grudges or hateful thoughts in their minds. These thoughts could be symbolized as monsters in one’s head.” This is why I miss men like Dave Hunt.

I watched this to see if perhaps this could be something that the kids might be able to watch. I pretty much already knew the answer, but wanted to satisfy my curiosity. My answer is no. The closer we get to the the Lord’s return it seems that discernment is going by the wayside. All a door to the wrong side has to do is be slightly opened, and, if allowed, that door will one day get flung wide open.

Am I saying this will lead one to the occult? Maybe, maybe not. Some people can take a drink and never care to have another and one can take a drink and one day become a raging drunk. The liberal use of the Lord’s name I think would be offensive to any true Christian. And His name is used many times in this movie, it’s not combined with the D-word but it doesn’t have to be in order to be blasphemy. Many will roll their eyes and say I’m nitpicking and to lighten up but that has been the problem, in my opinion, with the Church and professing Christians, and I believe has led to the current spiritual condition of the Church and the nation. That’s all the preaching I will do.

Having said that I usually don’t care for Jack Black, but he actually wasn’t that bad, and most of the acting and directing was not too bad. In my pre-Christian days, I probably would’ve liked this movie, had it taken a more serious tone. The Bible tells us (I’m paraphrasing here) to choose this day whom we will serve. What’s more important, taking a stand and not watching or going with the flow and saying what’s the big deal? We need to look around at this land and look at where it’s heading and be discerning and search the scriptures daily in these perilous days.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—John M, age 53 (USA)

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