Bumpy ride for in­fe­rior se­quel

Rutherglen Reformer - - Weekend Ticket -

The first Goose­bumps movie served up fab­u­lously fun fam­ily frights, and was a real nos­tal­gia trip for this for­mer fan of the book se­ries.

Three years on, it’s time for a sec­ond chap­ter – al­though it’s vir­tu­ally all change be­hind and in front of the camera.

Creepy ven­tril­o­quist’s doll Slappy and writer Dar­ren Lemke are back, along with a small ap­pear­ance by one of the orig­i­nal’s stars.

But Ari San­del – whose only pre­vi­ous big screen di­rect­ing cred­its are the ris­i­ble The Duff and lit­tle-seen When We First Met – helms a new cast as young friends Sonny (Jeremy Ray Tay­lor) and Sam (Caleel Har­ris) stum­ble across a mag­i­cal book that brings Slappy back to life.

The se­ries new­bies fail to live up to the achieve­ments of their pre­de­ces­sors as Haunted Hal­loween lacks the orig­i­nal’s warmth and gen­uine scares.

This se­quel is aimed more at an­kle-biters – and they are sure to have a great time watch­ing all of the iconic su­per­nat­u­ral char­ac­ters come to grisly life.

That’s not to say there’s noth­ing for teens and adults to en­joy; the young mem­bers of the cast are a de­light and the dig­i­tal and prac­ti­cal ef­fects defy the flick’s rel­a­tively small block­buster bud­get ($33 mil­lion).

Tay­lor, who shone in last year’s It, and Har­ris (Think Like a Man) are be­liev­able bud­dies and per­fect performers for this type of ma­te­rial.

Brides­maids’ Wendi McLen­don-Covey (Kathy) throws her­self into a phys­i­cally chal­leng­ing role with gusto and Chris Par­nell (Wal­ter) is al­ways a wel­come comedic pres­ence.

I was less en­thused to see Ken Jeong (Mr Chu) pop up on screen; not since the first Hang­over movie has the 49-year-old been any­thing other than grat­ing or un­bear­able.

Lemke and Rob Lieber’s story barely has a chance to breath as it gets buried be­neath an avalanche of colour­ful, crazy cre­ations in­clud­ing Frankeng­nomes and Gummi Bear mon­sters.

We do care about Sam, Sonny and the lat­ter’s sis­ter Sarah’s (Madi­son Ise­man) fate – but not enough.

You also never feel like they are in any real dan­ger as the kid-friendly tone and aes­thet­ics will have you twid­dling your thumbs rather than bit­ing your nails.

The clever meta trap­pings running through the 2015 orig­i­nal are posted miss­ing; this is a much more stripped-back, straight­for­ward tale with few sur­prises.

An open cli­max sug­gests a third en­try is on the cards but it al­ready feels like enough is enough – un­less braver creative choices are made.

The first movie, and un­nerv­ing modern flicks like Joe Dante’s The Hole and cult clas­sic The Mon­ster Squad, did a much more ef­fec­tive job of de­liv­er­ing fam­i­lyfriendly scares.

Goose­bumps 2 might not be a ter­ri­fy­ing mess, but it’s about as fright­en­ing as an un­car­ved pump­kin.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.