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MOVIE REVIEW

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween also known as “Goosebumps 2,” “Pesadillas 2: Noche de Halloween,” “Goosebumps 2: Halloween Assombrado,” “Escalofrios 2: Una noche embrujada,” “Goosebumps 2: Arrepios no Halloween,” “Piccoli brividi 2 - I fantasmi di Halloween,” “Chair de Poule 2: Les Fantômes d'Halloween,” “Gänsehaut 2: Gruseliges Halloween,” “Gåsehud 2: Monsterkvelden,” “Goosebumps 2: Halloween bântuit,” “Husí kuze 2: Ukradený Halloween,” “Husia koža 2: Strašidelný Halloween,” “Siurpuliukai 2: Prakeiktas Helovynas,” “Libabőr 2: Hullajó Halloween,” «Страшилки 2», «Goosebumps 2: Призрачен Хелоуин», «Ужастики 2: Беспокойный Хеллоуин»

MPAA Rating: PG-Rating (MPAA) for scary creature action and images, some thematic elements, rude humor and language.

Reviewed by: Blake Wilson
CONTRIBUTOR

Average—with caution
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family
Genre:
Family Comedy Horror-for-Children Adventure Adaptation Sequel
Length:
1 hr. 30 min.
Year of Release:
2018
USA Release:
October 12, 2018 (wide release)
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
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

What’s wrong with Halloween? Answer

HALLOWEEN—Should Christians participate in the this holiday? Answer

Good overcoming evil

Occult evil / What is the Occult? Answer

THE OCCULT—What does the Bible say about it? Answer

magic and magicians in the Bible / enchantments

Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

Possible negative effects of fantasy magic in Hollywood films

Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

Exposing kids to scary images and situations

Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

AFRAID OF THE DARK—How can I help my child to trust in God’s care when she is afraid at night? Answer

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

Monsters

Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Copyright, Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures
Featuring: Jack BlackR.L Stine and the voice of Slappy the Dummy
Wendi McLendon-Covey … Kathy Quinn
Madison Iseman … Sarah Quinn
Ken JeongMr. Chu
Chris Parnell … Walter
Jeremy Ray Taylor … Sonny Quinn
Shari Headley … Mrs. Carter
Darin De Paul … Terry / Angry Pumpkin (voice)
Jessi Goei … Maya
Caleel Harris … Sam Carter
Peyton Wich … Tommy Madigan
Courtney Lauren Cummings … Jess
See all »
Director: Ari Sandel—“The DUFF” (2015), “The X Show” TV series
Producer: Columbia Pictures Corporation
Original Film
Scholastic Entertainment
See all »
Distributor: Distributor: Columbia Pictures. Trademark logo.
Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures

Halloween comes to life in a this movie based on R.L. Stine’s series of books. A ventroloquist’s dummy comes to life in the small town of Wardenclyffe on Halloween Night when it is released by two boys in an abandoned house. The evil puppet sets out to create a Halloween Apocalypse with help from his many monster allies. The boys and a sister must try to stop the plot before all is lost.

Prequel: “Goosebumps” (2015)

I was skeptical about “Goosebumps 2,” as they decided not to continue the characters and story from the original at all. Instead, this is a new story with new characters. The first film was a true surprise. It was like an amusement park ride with a few strong surprises (along with some surprising emotional depth in a few places).

This, on the other hand, is only a bit more well-plotted and developed than a television movie (the only real sense of character development involves Sarah’s hesitation to write a good college essay). If this was a Nickelodeon movie, I probably would have been a bit more impressed. There’s really nothing here that’s as compelling and memorable as the original. Even Slappy and the monsters don’t seem as fun as last time. Jack Black’s presence in the movie is limited, though I am glad they didn’t completely cut him out.

The movie’s antics are entertaining, and the idea of the kids finishing an “unfinished Goosebumps book” is an appealing idea. However, as I watched this movie, I kept thinking that it could have been much better.

As for content problems, the main concern is the magic. Unlike last time, which was clearly just monsters jumping off the pages of a book, there are incantations said to make Slappy and the monsters come to life. Now, is it rooted in witchcraft or anything truly demonic? Honestly, the film never explains how any of it is possible. But, if any of this doesn’t give you peace about the film, then by all means don’t see it. On the other hand, it avoids the explicit use of demons and rituals like in the recent “House with a Clock in Its Walls.”

Besides that, there’s a few of mild profanity (“h***,” “d***” and “oh my g**”), a few bathroom jokes, and a few mild “jump scares.” The overall action violence, in the meantime, stays well within PG boundaries.

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


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—This movie was ok, but not as good as the first. The characters in the first one played off each other so well, and you rooted for them. This one felt a bit hollow. My daughter felt it was just a little more intense than the first one. The first one was very comedic and light-hearted. It was a good movie to see for something to do with the kids, but the first one was the type where you buy the DVD.

My daughter was also upset they did not follow the cliffhanger of the first film, which left the invisible boy on the loose. I wish they had more of Ken Jeong in it. Usually he doesn’t star in family-friendly films, so to see one in it where you could laugh with his character was good. They should have made his character have a larger role.

The monsters were lacking, although the witches were the best ones. It was just… blah. Fun to see if you rent it or have a bargain day at the theater, but not as funny, entertaining and sweet as the first one.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
Andrea, age 46 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—Worth a good family movie. Though it is scary, I observe it to be an alright time. Parents may wanna watch it with the kids just so they can’t be too scared of certain scenes like a giant balloon-like spider and the creepy ventriloquist dummy.

From a Christian point of view, I see this as a bit too scary for those children who are true believers in God.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
Kyle Christine, age 25 (USA)

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Secular Movie Critics
…worth a matinee ticket… completely satisfactory family entertainment. It's hard to imagine anyone putting “Goosebumps 2” on their end-of-year worst movie list. And not just because it’s hard to imagine anyone even remembering this film beyond next Tuesday. …
Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle
…Although it provides a fair number of mild scares and laughs, “Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween” feels more like a kiddie film than did the original.…
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
…The way a movie like “Goosebumps 2” works, even a weary adult will be grateful, by the time it finally kicks in, for all the brainless whirling distraction. I almost wrote fun, but that would be pushing it. To achieve that F-word, the film would have to ground its amusing effects in a story that was less skittery yet leaden. …
Owen Gleiberman, Variety
…The only performance worth mentioning is Jeong, who brings his energetic weirdness to a rather small role. …
Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
…It replicates the template and the atmosphere of the original, but it lacks invention and emotional investment. …
Bilge Ebiri, Vulture, New York Magazine
…keeps its low-key, harmless energy at a steady simmer. Every once in a while a joke is funnier than you might expect, or a monster looks surprisingly spooky, but overall this is a safe, by the numbers Halloween family film. …
William Bibbiani, The Wrap
…The sheer number of monsters in the movie serves as a stand-in for its weak plot…
Nick Vadala, Philadelphia Daily News
…the safely scary and often amusing formula holds…
Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail (Toronto)