NEW YORK (WABC) -- Part of the fun of reading is you get to use your mind to conjure characters and imagine situations, which is why movie versions of your favorite books can sometimes fall flat. They simply aren't as good as what you can dream up.
That said, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween does a pretty good job of bringing the books of R.L. Stine to the big screen.
A dummy has been brought to life by two boys who enter an abandoned house and find a book they were never supposed to open. Slappy is a ventriloquist's dummy who starts talking on his own and tells the boys they must keep his existence a secret, but that doesn't last long because the sister of one of them inevitably finds out. And she's outraged, telling out heroes, "You discovered a walking, talking dummy, and you didn't tell me?"
Slappy seems like a nice guy at the start, but soon enough, his diabolical plan becomes clear when he goes looking for company and brings to life his own characters: like the horseman with a head made of fire.
The result isn't pretty, but this Haunted Halloween isn't that scary. As someone who scares easily and doesn't need any nightmares, I appreciated the fact the horror here was, as one critic put it, "toothless."
The boy in me related to the Gummy Bears, who just keep getting bigger, and scenes,like the one where they suddenly turn nasty made me laugh.
"So tiny and cute," says one boy, "What can they possible do?"
Plenty, as it turns out.
I was surrounded by kids at a recent screening, and I enjoyed their enjoyment of Goosebumps 2. Jack Black has a brief cameo in the movie, so fans shouldn't go expecting to see much of him.
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Sandy Kenyon reviews 'Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween'