When I first heard that Jack Black and his Gulliver’s Travels director Rob Letterman would be spearheading a live-action adaptation of R.L. Stine’s beloved YA horror anthology series Goosebumps, my gut reaction was one of horror. Beyond the obvious challenges of adapting a series like Goosebumps, which features dozens of spine-tingling but unrelated stories, Black and Letterman’s track record is pretty dismal.
However, a new synopsis for the film gives me hope that it may not be as terrible as I originally suspected. It looks like Darren Lemke and Mike White took a rather out-of-the-box approach to translating Goosebumps to the big screen, and the results will certainly be interesting when the film hits theaters. Check it out below:
In Goosebumps, upset about moving from a big city to a small town, teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) finds a silver lining when he meets the beautiful girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush), living right next door. But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach’s comes when he learns that Hannah has a mysterious dad who is revealed to be R. L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series. It turns out that there is a reason why Stine is so strange… he is a prisoner of his own imagination – the monsters that his books made famous are real, and Stine protects his readers by keeping them locked up in their books. When Zach unintentionally unleashes the monsters from their manuscripts and they begin to terrorize the town, it’s suddenly up to Stine, Zach, and Hannah to get all of them back in the books where they belong.
Sold yet? I’m not, though the film’s cast is quite promising. Aside from Black, Minnette (Prisoners) and Rush (upcoming adaptation The Giver) are two talented young actors. Amy Ryan, Jillian Bell, Ken Marino and Super 8 actor Ryan Lee also star. With that cast, and a plot that gives a knowing wink to fans of the series by incorporating Stine himself, we may be in for a solid book-to-film adaptation.
Goosebumps will creep into theaters on March 23rd, 2016.