STARRING: Jack Black, Dylan Minette, Odeya Rush

Fright night: Black

Imagine moving next door to R.L. Stine (Black), the author — among tons of other books — of the Goosebumps series, and also referred to as the Stephen King of kids' lit. Not that Zach (Minette) knows who his antagonistic neighbour is at first. All he cares about is that Stine's pretty daughter, Hannah (Rush), is just as friendly as could be and that the new neighbourhood looks to be exactly the kind of leafy, homey place where a clean-skinned teenage boy and his accommodating mother (Amy Ryan) can take fresh steps to recover from the death of their father and husband. That is, until about night No.2, when Stine's beastly creations — the Abominable Snowman of Pasadena, the werewolf of Fever Swamp, Slappy the talking ventriloquist's dummy (voiced by Black) et al — escape their manuscripts and serious wackiness is afoot.


Stine's creatures are a spooky-kooky sight and their batty rampage gives ample reactive mileage to a mischievous Black and his obliging young posse (Ryan Lee rounds it out as Zach's new insta-friend, Champ). Director Rob Letterman’s knockabout mêlée never takes its kid-friendly frights too far—but that doesn't mean the mastermind dummy is planning to go quietly...