Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween knows what its target demographic wants but also resonates with adult audiences, thanks to the zippy plot and across-the-board excellent performances from the totally game cast.
The visuals were beautifully spooky and creepy just like in the first one. The writing and humor was funny but not hilarious like in the first one. The acting performances were fantastic especially Ken Jeong, Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Caleel Harris, and Chris Parnell. This one was not as good as the first one but it was still pretty entertaining. One of my favorite Halloween movies.
Better than the first at times and Slappy is definitely better. Feels more like the Goosebumps series than the first. Which was more about family fun than scares or creepiness.
Although I don’t remember Slappy having powers in the first. I thought I would miss the cast from the original. The new cast is pretty good though and the sequel is so entertaining I forgot I missed them lol.
The Halloween monster mash iconography is incredibly strong and the cast is excellent, but Goosebumps 2 is in far too much of a hurry – and perhaps too eager to be widely accessible – to be actually scary or wholly effective.
The last film legitimately took me by surprise. It was more fun than expected. This one is more what I'd thought the first would be: Serviceable. The entire thing is decent, but it is very standard. Jack Black's entertaining R.L. Stine is a bit part here and the interesting dynamic and obstacles of the kids from the first film is missing here. What ensues is a very by-the-numbers children's film. The actors playing the kids do a good job but they're given the most basic of characterizations and conflicts (complete with predictable school bullies). Wendi McLendon-Covey, Chris Parnell, and Ken Jeong all have fun supporting roles, but they're not big parts.
Monsters are fun. They are even a couple scenes with Slappy that are a little scarier than expected. Kids should like this. At worst, parents will probably be indifferent. The movie is okay it just doesn't stand out.
Let me lead with the first Goosebumps film from 2015 was a delight. It had a surprisingly heartfelt backbone to the family friendly carnage with a set of well known actors giving it their full attention – no slumming around. Not to mention a fantastic way to adapt the spirit of the long running series. (My first was in 6th grade in 1992; I think it was “Say Cheese and Die”)
However, Goosebumps 2 is much lesser than first one. It feels like one notch above a TV movie. Think of the film you expected for the first film. The movie here is likely around the quality you expected. Since it’s a sequel, one expects to use what worked the first time and build in a different way. But this is very much the first one again with some details changed.
With being a sequel, it takes too long to get to the expected Halloween/Monster mayhem with a really sketchy set of scenes to get to it. Set ups that would work for a movie of the week but not so much on the big screen. Undercooked way to get to Slappy, and later to the monster fun. Odd as the mayhem starts about 20 minutes after it did the first time around. It’s a sequel, be bigger! When it does happen, the film is a blast with great production design for the creatures, including green orb head witches and a giant spider made from balloons. The sequence when Slappy gets the gang back together is amazing and gets the spirit going. There is a notable cheapness to the whole she-bang even when it goes as the film keeps finding excuses to exit the town getting attacked (I’m pretty sure there are piles of dead), ranging from “let’s talk in this alley” to “hang out with as annoying as normal Ken Jeong for a minute”. Jeong plays the character in a way that makes those who laugh just because he is there happy. Broad and groan-worthy. He does have the Halloween yard set up I want so bad though.
This all leads to a very rushed and easy ending. How convenient is it? It doesn’t feel done. Like there is about to be the next, real climax. But it doesn’t happen. Just wrapped up in a bow with really weird voice-over. And several subplots left unresolved.
On the plus side – the monsters look great, there is fun in the sequences you came to see. The design on Slappy is very well done – it’s not Black doing the voice this time but a reasonable facsimile. I’m pretty sure many of the extras characters straight up died. There is great report between the leads and some well-done humor and nods to horror franchises. I’m not sure if one bit was a direct nod to Halloween III: Season of the Witch or just a coincidence as I have Halloween on the brain (cough podcast cough) – and I’m watching Halloween III as I write this. We do get Jack Black on hand for a little bit, but almost feels like he’s added in when they realized he can stop by for a day during The House with a Clock in its Walls downtime.
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is not a terrible movie. It’s just a disappointment after the first entry showed this concept can be done better. I personally hoped the sequel would be a Horrorland type thing instead of essentially the same plot. For family-friendly horror-fantasy on the big screen, go see House instead.
This movie is for little kids. Little little kids. Needs more Jack Black to make this a bit more watchable, but I guess he was too busy filming 'The House with a Clock in Its Walls'. Also, did Halloween 2018 steal a subplot from this movie? A girl at a Halloween party with her boyfriend, but she would later find him cheating on her. Whoever did it first, it's a weird rip off.
"Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween" Is a funny, thrilling, scary for all ages. But.. It mocks the Set out for "Goosebumps" so its basically the same story again but with new characters. The animation is fluffy and ugly. The movie has everything in awe but not so much to the plot.