When is a movie actually a good and proper sequel - and not just a complete retread and repackage of the previous film? Goosebumps 2 forgoes virtually everything the previous film set up and feels more like an alternate script. It's decent enough friendly horror fun for little ones, but it doesn't have that creative spark or fun nostalgia for adults that Goosebumps enjoyed. Sony Pictures delivers a splendid 4K UHD Blu-ray release with a terrific HDR10 2160p transfer and an aggressive and actively entertaining Dolby Atmos audio mix. Bonus features aren't that special but give a decent look at the making of the film. If you got kids in need of some safe spooky entertainment, this "sequel" is Worth A Look.
"I don't think this place is giving out candy."
Sarah Quinn (Madison Iseman) and her younger brother Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) live with their mother in the sleepy New York town of Wardenclyffe. Sonny's best friend Sam (Caleel Harris) is staying over while his dad is out of town, and the two boys have a scheme to make some quick cash by providing garbage cleanup services to their neighbors. When the boys are hired to clean out an old abandoned house, the two find a creepy old puppet, and what appears to be an unpublished manuscript called Haunted Halloween by author R. L. Stine (Jack Black). When the puppet Slappy comes alive and starts helping the boys, they quickly learn of his evil intentions - and it may even be too late to save the town!
Back in 2016 when the first Goosebumps hit Blu-ray - I gave it a decent review. I liked it when I saw it and after watching the 3D disc a couple more times over the last couple years it's become a fun little favorite. It was a nice kid-friendly horror flick that left plenty of nostalgic bits and pieces for adults and parents who grew up with the original books to appreciate. All of that goodwill and parent-friendly material is lost in a sequel that doesn't feel like a genuine continuation of the previous film. Instead Goosebumps 2 looks and sounds like an alternate draft of the first film that was tossed away years ago and was dusted off and shot as quickly as possible to race Universal's Jack Black-starring feature The House with a Clock in Its Walls to theaters.
While I will admit this is an okay film - I am definitely not the target demographic. In fact, if you're old enough to pay taxes this one isn't for you. From the lead characters to the dopy performances from all adults involved including Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ken Jeong, and Chris Parnell - this movie is 100% geared to the pre-teen kiddos in the bunch whose parents aren't comfortable letting them watch anything with a PG-13 rating. While he makes a contractual appearance, Jack Black's R.L. Stine is shoehorned into the show as little better than a cameo (he doesn't even voice Slappy this time) - which is a true shame since he was so damn funny in the last one.
This one ends with an obvious setup for a possible third entry but I can't see it happening - at least not without a big shift in the creative team. In the rush to get Goosebumps 2 into theaters as fast as possible to hit the titular holiday release frame, the film spoils a lot of the magic the first Goosebumps capitalized. As I said, it's not bad and certainly isn't the worst kid-friendly feature flick out there - it's just not meant for the adults in the room. It's silly. There are some funny bits so it's not a total waste of time, but instead, a missed opportunity to build a solid family-friendly horror franchise.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K UHD Blu-ray
Sony Pictures unleashes Goosebumps 2 to 4K UHD Blu-ray in a two-disc 4K UHD + Blu-ray + Digital set. The discs are housed in a black two-disc snapper case with identical slipcover artwork. The disc loads to a static image main menu with Sony's traditional 4K UHD menu scheme.
Sourced from a 2K Digital Intermediate Goosebumps 2 earns some frightful delights thanks to its 2.39:1 HDR10 transfer. Since this is a Halloween-season movie, it makes great use of all the spooky festive seasonal colors. Greens, yellows, oranges - all get a terrific punch in color with reds and blues kicking in some nice primaries. Black levels and contrast offer up the most notable improvement over its SDR counterpart giving stronger shadows with cleaner whites allowing for the image to enjoy a great sense of depth and dimension.
Details do enjoy a bit more refinement over the 1080p transfer, but you don't really notice the improvements until the creatures start taking over the town. The practical effects costumes and monsters really look cool here as you're fully able to see and appreciate the work that went into them. This is also the unfortunate side of the coin as the digital effects tend to have a weightless pop to them that doesn't convincingly blend 100% with the physical effects. But that's a small quibble. All in all this is a fine transfer that offers viewers many clear improvements over the 1080p Blu-ray
Leave it to Dolby Atmos to bring Goosebumps 2 to creepy crawly life! Dialogue is clean and clear throughout, without any issues. Scoring by Dominic Lewis does a great job of adding mood and punching up the fun. Surround activity is very active with this mix as there are constant little sound sources to keep the channels active and engaged. Levels are spot on without any need for adjustment down the line.
Where Atmos really brings it to the show is with the sense of space and dimension in any given room. From shopping centers to the creepy abandoned house - there is great subtle object-based sound focus engaging the verticals. When the movie is briefly being quiet it helps kick up the spooky moodiness and then when the action gets rolling it's a hell of a lot of fun. The sound of creatures and monsters swirling around and destroying things and possessing the residents is a real riot. It may not have been entirely necessary to have an Atmos mix on a film that is very much directed towards the younger folk in the room - but this movie makes great use of the extra channel spacing.
While the quality of these bonus features is a bit hit or miss, I appreciate that Goosebumps 2 wasn't left out in the cold. Most of these featurettes are little better than EPK stuff, but it's worth picking through. The Meet the Monsters featurette offers a nice showcase of all the practical costume and creature effects work.
Deleted Scenes (HD 2:10)
Gag Reel! (HD 2:37)
Thrills & Chills - The Making of Goosebumps 2 (HD 9:56)
Meet the Monsters (HD 8:32)
Science with Slappy (HD 11:09)
Slappy-Oke Sing-Alongs (HD 4:10)
Junk Brothers - Call Now! (HD 1:13)
Slappy's Audition (HD 2:00)
Goosebumps 2 aims its brand of horror, action, and comedy squarely at those whose parents won't let them enjoy anything harder than a PG rating. It's an enjoyable film but if you were a 30-something fan of the original film that appreciated the toe-dips into nostalgia, you'll be left out in the cold by this rather uninspired flick. Sony packages up the creepy ghoulies and unleashes them in strong 4K UHD Blu-ray that easily surpasses its 1080p SDR counterpart. The 2160p HDR10 transfer offers bolder colors, deeper blacks, and the Dolby Atmos mix keeps the action and frights lively and fun. While technically a solid release, this weak sequel has some fun bits but not enough to earn a stronger recommendation than Worth A Look.