Two boys face an onslaught from witches, monsters, ghouls and a talking dummy after they discover a mysterious book by author R. L. Stine.
ActorsStarring: Jack Black, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Madison Iseman, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Caleel Harris, Ken Jeong, Chris Parnell, Bryce Cass, Peyton Wich, Shari Headley, Christian Finlayson, Matthew Jose Vasquez, Courtney Lauren Cummings, Jessi Goei, Drew Scheid, Tyler Silva, Sydney Bullock, Jason Looney, Kendrick Cross, Deja Dee, Brick Jackson, Krishnan Viren Patel, Hallie Jackson, R.L. Stine, Katharine C. Lumpkin, Kent Wagner, Marsha Shackelford, Barry W. Jerald Jr., Mary Tricia Froedge, Robert Hunt, Martin Skyler, Grace Toso, Calvin Wickham, Taylor Williams, Iyani Gwendolyn, Cheniqua Litchmore, Hali J. Ross, Joe Marri, Cody Jenkins, Sherri Millican, Scott Millican, Joseph N. Hardin, Alex T. Hill, Benjamin Bladon, Mick Wingert, Braylon Andrews, Kaitlyn Bishop, Jasmine Bolton, Raphael Dante' Carr Jr., Darin De Paul, Suehyla El-Attar, Gavrielle Anne Fontanilla, Natsuki Hirota, Lacy Hudson, Catherine Jerald, Sawyer Jones, Serene Lee-Sng, Natalya MacDonald-Risner, Gracie Marcellus, Shaun McMillan, Ben O'Brien
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween was not quite on par with the first film, but still a good family Halloween movie. There are plenty of good things about this movie, but a few tiny adjustments could have improved it a bit. The pacing of the story was excellent; no part of the movie felt slow once the adventure starts in earnest. It is also family friendly enough to feel like a Disney Channel movie, but with a bigger budget. But as much as that helped, it also held the movie back a bit.
The plot was the first big thing that held Haunted Halloween back. There is nothing that makes the story back, it is just basic. There are no twists and turns the audience is not expecting. Considering the Goosebumps books usually did have some kind of twist (the first movie even poked fun at that), the lack of one was a bit disappointing. For kids that works, but as an adult watching the movie for nostalgia it did not. And as is the case with most modern movies, a good portion of the plot was spoiled by the trailer.
Characterization was something else that made Haunted Halloween a bit rough. The kid characters are a bit younger than the ones in the first film. While there is nothing wrong with younger heroes, they did not have that same chemistry going as the original group. The adult characters were extremely underutilized this time around. There was a healthy balance between kids and adults in the previous movie and that just does not ring true here. Most of the adults get one or two scenes and fall to the wayside for the rest of the movie. This includes Jack Black, which is understandable since he was working on another movie while this one was being filmed.
The really big thing in the first Goosebumps was…well, Goosebumps. Every monster in the first film was from the Goosebumps books. The main villain of Haunted Halloween is still Slappy, which was great. Slappy has significantly more screen time, better motivation, and shows how smart he is despite being a dummy. But while a few other Goosebumps classics make an appearance, most of the monsters are generic. Some of them looked really cool but did lack that nostalgia factor. And while the monsters still looked nice, many of them had one close-up and were then reduced to background pieces. While all this makes Haunted Halloween a fine movie for kids, it is not going to become a Halloween staple.