"We're not critics. We're professional fan-girls." --- This blog is dedicated to movies and the entertainment industry. We use random selection to bring into light the best and worst of Netflix and off various columns highlighting new movies as well.
Carmichael, Ross M. Dinerstein, Joel Henry, Kevin Iwashina, Andrew Schwarz
Harvis, Alistair Legrand
Larter, Arjun Gupta, Max Rose, Chloe Perrin, Merrin Dungey, Patrick Fischler,
Kurt Carley, Wilmer Calderon, Laura Margolis, Mark Steger, Tom Wright, Trey
Holland, Andrew Varenhorst
Blurb from Netflix:
Terrorized by unexplained disturbances and horrific visions in her home, a
young widowed mother turns to her scientist boyfriend for help.
Selina’s Point of View:
The people who write the blurbs for Netflix really don’t
watch the film do they? The first part of the sentence is spot on. The second
part of the sentence makes me face-palm. They didn’t even describe the main
character correctly. You’ll see the differences if you watch the movie.
Sorry, had to rant about that.
I found the movie to have good aspects and bad aspects that
eventually even out into complete mediocrity.
As a good part, I rather enjoyed the acting in this film.
Ali Larter (Pitch, Legends, You’re Not
You) did well with her part, Arjun Gupta (The Magicians, Nurse Jackie, HairBrained) was a believable
scientist… and even the kid actors, Max Rose (Lost Fare, Secret Summer, Criminal Minds) and Chloe Perrin (Papa, Jurassic World, Reckless), were on
point. All the actors did the very best they could with the script that was
handed to them.
Unfortunately, the script and the plot were not good. I
liked that a couple of well-known tropes were completely dashed in the beginning,
but it all went downhill from there. The story became progressively easier to
predict and the ending was completely unsatisfying. A different end – with maybe
five more minute – would have elevated the film to amazing. The one interesting
twist that could have really made this film unique, was never given closure.
I’m not sure who’s at fault. It could be the writers, but it
could also have been the editor. It’s possible that the scenes I think the movie
needed could have been filmed and then cut from the final product. That shit
happens all the time. If that’s the case, then the film editor, Blair Miller (Mr. Right, Scream 4, Quarantine), has a
lot to answer for.
The base idea of the movie was so good that I really wanted
to like it more. Unfortunately, regardless of who’s to blame, the film failed
to deliver anything more than: meh.
Cat’s Point of View:
I was really hoping to like this movie. I’m a fan of Ali
Larter (Obsessed, You're Not You, Legends).
Pair that with my love of sci-fi, the supernatural, and the horror genre and
you should have had a winner.
That’s right – should have.
The set up here seemed to fit most haunting recipes. The
movie’s title implied something sinister going on behind whatever was going to
happen to the characters. They tried to flip the script a bit and take the
story in an unexpected direction. I have to give them kudos for trying
something somewhat original but I don’t think it was executed well enough.
The plot just seemed a bit cobbled together, and I didn’t
buy in to the ending.
The kids did a pretty bang up job with their roles, and
Larter’s performance was mostly sound. Arjun Gupta (Motherhood, How to Get Away with Murder, French Dirty) was a
relative unknown to me. I mostly liked him in this movie but I’m still a bit on
We’ve had some movies recently that have fed the audience
information a tidbit at a time too slowly but surely draw us from a feeling of
‘wtf is going on’ towards the ultimate big reveal. I think they tried to do
that with this movie, but weren’t quite so successful.
The majority of the movie had me in supernatural horror zone
and there wasn’t enough setup for the rest. It felt like a bit of a smack
upside the head rather than the epiphany that I think they were going for. I
don’t think they spent enough time with how they tied things together in the last
quarter of the movie.
The effects were ok through most of it, but there were
points that I got the impression of a hologram or projected image rather than
what they were really trying to sell me. I don’t know – maybe that’s what they
were really going for.
All in all – I didn’t want to turn it off or anything and I
didn’t hate it, but I won’t be watching this again. I’m not sure it would be
very high on my list of recommendations, either.
Columbia Pictures, LStar Capital, Original Film, Scholastic Entertainment, Sony
Pictures Animation, Village Roadshow Pictures
Bannerman, Greg Basser, Greg Baxter, Bruce Berman, Deborah Forte, Tania Landau,
Neal H. Moritz, Ben Waisbren
Lemke, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, R.L. Stine
Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Ryan Lee, Amy Ryan, Jillian Bell, Halston
Sage, Steven Krueger, Keith Arthur Bolden, Amanda Lund, Timothy Simons, Ken
Marino, Karan Soni, R.L. Stine, Caleb Emery
Blurb from Netflix:
A teen is glum about moving to a small town until he falls for his new
neighbor. But her dad is a horror writer whose scary world soon turns real.
Selina’s Point of View:
Growing up I think I owned every single Goosebumps book R.L. Stine put out. I loved the entire series. My
mom would put me to bed and I would hide under the blankets with a flashlight
and read Night of the Living Dummy
(1993) or Say Cheese and Die (1992)
or The Girl Who Cried Monster (1993).
My absolute love of all things horror can probably be traced back to R.L. Stine
and Are You Afraid of the Dark (1990-2000).
Last year, when I heard they were putting out a new film, I
was super nervous. I wanted to see it in the theaters, but I just couldn’t
stand the thought that – if they fucked it up – they could be ruining something
I held incredibly dear as a child. It was still #3 on my list of movies to look
out for that month… but that didn’t make me any less nervous.
Tonight, I took a deep breath and then hit play on the
Netflix app of my Apple TV.
out to be everything I could have possibly hoped it would be.
There were some cheesy moments, but even those moments
stayed true to the feel of the Goosebumps
series. I have no doubt that it exceeded my expectations because the
director/writer of this film actually consulted the real life R.L. Stine and
took his advice.
The film is based on the book series, but it’s not an
adaptation. Instead, it links all the stories into a single universe and
becomes a continuation – the next story in the series.
This is one of those movies that you can show your kids, but
it’s really made for you – at least if you’re around my age. It’s a film the
entire family can watch without anyone tearing their hair out from boredom.
This time, I will absolutely be seeing the movie in
I’m going to go rebuy and read some old Goosebumps now.
Cat’s Point of View:
This actually wasn’t my first watch-through of this movie. I
had seen it not too long after it was released in theaters. I remembered my
general impression of the film, but watching it again was certainly not a
loathsome experience. It also was a bonus that I could double check that it was
going to be appropriate for my daughter’s upcoming Halloween slumber party.
I loved this movie.
Of course, I expected to really enjoy it.
I have several of R.L Stine’s (When Good Ghouls Go Bad, The Nightmare Room, Mostly Ghostly) books.
I watched a bit of the TV series of Goosebumps
(1995-1998); and, while not Stine’s work, I was a fan of the Nickelodeon
series Are You Afraid of the Dark
(1990-2000). Everyone has their own nightmare fuel, though. I know some of
Stein’s works stuck with me long after closing the books or turning off the TV.
To give a bit of a further comparison, this was nowhere near
the horror and disgusting factor found in another book series of the 80s and
early 90s. Do you remember the Scary
Stories to Tell in the Dark (1981-1991) trilogy by the late Alvin Schwartz
(Kickle Sniffers and Other Fearsome
Critters, All of Our Noses Are Here and Other Noodle Tales, In A Dark Dark Room
and Other Scary Stories)? There’s supposedly a movie in the works, but
there’s no telling how long it’ll be in development hell.
Back to the movie before I babble forever about my horror book
I actually sat here for a little bit and tried to think of a
movie I’ve seen Jack Black (Nacho Libre,
The Big Year, The Brink) in that I didn’t like – at least his performance,
specifically. I can’t think of any. He’s capable of so many levels of humor as
well as a versatile range in other genres beyond the humorous. He’s not afraid
of physical comedy, and quite often goes for the over-the-top. His performance
in this role as the iconic author was just right - hilarity with pathos.
Dylan Minnette (Saving
Grace, Let Me In, Prisoners) was the perfect foil for Black in this film. I
loved the deadpan humor of this character, and all of his sarcasm. It wasn’t
all laughs, though. I believed his emotional journey. This wasn’t his first
trip into the world of R.L. Stine, either. He and another of his cast mates
from this movie were also in R.L Stine's The
Haunting Hour (2011-2013).
That brings me to Ryan Lee (Super 8, White Rabbit, A Merry Friggin' Christmas). He also
appeared in a 2012 episode of R.L Stine's The
Haunting Hour. I imagine that gave this duo a bit of a leg up in experience
with some of the material already. I loved Lee’s character in this movie.
Unfortunately, I must remain mum as to which bits of the film he shined the
best in – no spoilers, sorry!
I loved the spirit and sense of adventure with Odeya Rush’s
(We Are What We Are, See You in Valhalla,
When the Devil Comes) character, Hannah. She was seemingly fearless with
just enough vulnerability. I enjoy strong female roles and this one was both
poignant and witty as well.
The film has plenty of spooky elements without resorting to gore.
It’s fast enough paced and the story is engrossing enough that I didn’t miss it.
Lots of laughs and some cool monster effects abound.
I’m looking forward to firing this back up again on Netflix
for my daughter’s party, and we’ll likely watch it many more times in the
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 76%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 63%
Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4.5/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score – 5/5
Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score
during the beginning of the credits. Some spooky sounds near the end of the