After seeing the Goosebumps movie advertised in a trailer last year, I thought that looks like a good movie to take Imogen to. She’s 8 years old now and some of the family movies we take both our kids too seem too baby-ish. I also instantly thought, is the Goosebumps movie too scary for kids? Zombies, Clowns, a Mutant Praying mantis and a “living” ventriloquists dummy, regardless of if the kids freak out these start to creep me out!
I asked Imogen if she fancied going to see the movie.
“Can Abi come?”
“No, she won’t like it. It’s a little bit scary… But in an exciting adventure kind of way”
I didn’t want to put her off before we agreed to go, and I know from past experience if a mild suggestion slips out then the brakes are on. It’s like offering a new food by saying “would you like to try this, I’m not sure if you’ll like it?” Already she’d think it’s horrible.
She agreed to go as long as we got popcorn and a drink. Turns out she meant a large drink and a large popcorn… And a pack of Malteasers! The cost of the snacks was more than the entry to the film, but that’s mainly down to the free tickets we earned through Vitality.
The Goosebumps Movie
Jack Black plays the role of R.L. Stine, the author of the goosebumps novels. The character was portrayed as a slightly creepy, reclusive man. Who according the the film suffered from a lot of allergies as a child. This meant he spent a lot of time alone in his family home. He spent this time creating friends and characters and eventually turned them into the characters in the books.
The trailer shows a horror film style werewolf and an abominable snowman. As an adult or a parent you can see through the computer generated characters and can see they aren’t believable or “realistic”, but for a child are these too far.
As the snowman was unlocked from the book, Imogen twitched. I looked down and she was curled around my arm. I asked if she was alright, she replied “I don’t like this film!”. I offered a reassurance of it’ll be alright. I had started to think that maybe this wasn’t the best choice. The BBFC cert at the beginning mentioned that it “contains scenes unsuitable for children”, yet it remained a PG. If it wasn’t for the humour added by Ryan Lee’s character Champ, I think I’d have struggled to keep Imogen there.
Is the Goosebumps movie too scary for kids?
Obviously the question is flawed through out. Some kids are more sensitive than others. How old are kids etc? For my 8 year old daughter it was on the very edge of being too scary. The scenes we’re gory enough to start nightmares and there scenes were balanced enough with amusement that it brought it back. The story also shares a theme of adventure in a new home town, which gives you an element of warmth towards the main character, Zach. If it was a movie based upon an adult audience then the horror would have resulted in the cast disappearing through various events. As it’s a kids movie, it’s safe to say that the ending finishes up with the same amount of characters as it starts with!
Despite the fact it has a PG rating, it does make me question why or how the BBFC have rated it that. Star Wars the Force Awakens was 15a. I think Imogen would have been more comfortable watching that than Goosebumps. The BBFC’s summary of Goosebumps is “GOOSEBUMPS is an adventure horror about a boy who has to save his town when hundreds of monsters are unleashed from his neighbour’s book collection.” Is it the word adventure that saved it from being an element too far?
Saying that there were three young lads, possibly around 10 years old sitting in our row, that seem to enjoy it. They appeared to be with out their parents. With the occasional mutter of “Jeez!” and giggles, they clearly weren’t freaked out.
As we left Imogen went quiet and a little bit clingy. Had she been traumatized by the Adventure Horror? Nope, the Large popcorn and coke seemed to have made here feel a little queazy and I thought I was going to have to start mopping up the floor. Apart from that, the film was enjoyable, but not the best film I’ve seen in the last 3 months.
Visit the Official Goosebumps website here for the trailer being reviewed by Slappy.