Teenager Sarah Quinn (Madison Iseman) lives with her mother Kathy (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and younger brother Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) in Wardenclyffe, New York. Sarah is attempting to get into Columbia University by writing an essay about fear. Kathy agrees to watch Sonny's friend Sam Carter (Caleel Harris) while his father goes out of town. Sonny and Sam are attempting to start a garbage cleanup business, and are called after school to clean up an abandoned house. Inside, they find a locked manuscript and open it, causing Slappy the Dummy to appear. They unknowingly bring him to life by speaking magic words found in his pocket. The book is later stolen by a bully named Tommy Madigan (Payton Wich). At home, Sonny is working on his science project, a miniature version of Nikola Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower. Slappy then reveals he's alive to Sonny and Sam, and gets their trust by using his magic to do the boy's chores and homework. Meanwhile, Sarah goes to a party to meet her boyfriend ...
The Goosebumps franchise as never been anything but a charming cheesy kid friendly take on the horror genre. The first film was pretty much exactly what you would want from the series but this one is tired. It is predictable beyond belief. It is missing a certain element to really make the tone of the film land.
I suspect that cutting down on Jack Black's Stine role and passing off the voice work for Slappy onto another actor is the culprit here. The new character are fine but the proceedings lack the gleeful mania that Black brings to his films. Moreover, the new Slappy voice is annoying because it sounds like a bad impression of Black instead of the trickster in the first film. In any case, this was a pleasant way to waste 90 minutes even if I have forgotten much of the details a day later.
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